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New Studies Challenge Myths About Marijuana Policy Reform

New Studies Challenge Myths About Marijuana Policy Reform

Despite how often the issue is studied, more and more research on marijuana policy reform continues.

A number of new studies support marijuana policy reform - and refute many arguments raised by opponents.

Those who are uncomfortable with the idea of marijuana policy reform often fall back on a tired argument: "we need more time to study this issue." But when you look at the facts about marijuana studies compared to a legal painkiller - like hydrocodone - you realize how ridiculous that argument really is:

Substance No. of studies,
all-time
Deaths in 2013
Hydrocodone (legal) 600 16,000
Marijuana (illegal) 20,000+
(1,430 in 2013)
0

Despite how often the issue is studied, more and more research on marijuana policy reform continues. Here's an overview of some of the most recent research - all of which supports new and better thinking about marijuana.

STUDY: Medical Marijuana Legalization Doesn't Lead to More Crime

  • Key Point: This study tracked crime rates across all 50 states between 1990 and 2006, when 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use. The study examined FBI crime data for homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft, and found that "none of the seven crime types increased with the legalization of medical marijuana."
  • Who Did the Study: University of Texas at Dallas
  • Released: March 27, 2014
  • Link to Study: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006
     

STUDY: Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is a Gateway Drug

  • Key Point: This study of 12th graders found that "alcohol represented the “gateway” drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Moreover, students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs."
  • Who Did the Study: University of Florida and Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health
  • Released: June 19, 2012
  • Link to StudyAlcohol as a Gateway Drug: A Study of US 12th Grader
     

STUDY: Medical Marijuana Does Not Increase Teen Use

  • Key Point: This study of 7th to 12th graders found that, "the rising use of marijuana by high school students can be explained by other factors" and not whether or not a state has legalized medical marijuana.
  • Who Did the Study: National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Released: July 2014
  • Link to StudyMedical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use
     

STUDY: No Link Between Marijuana Use and Car Accidents

  • Key Point: This federal study of over 9,000 drivers found that "consuming marijuana does not elevate the crash risk of the driver" - and that those drivers with marijuana in their system who are in accidents often have another substance in their system, normally alcohol.
  • Who Did the Study: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Released: February 2015
  • Link to Study: Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk