New Study Suggests Link Between Cannabis Legalization And Decline In Workers Comp Claims

A new research paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests a connection between marijuana legalization and a decline in workers’ compensation claims.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from  William Paterson University, Temple University, University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash and the RAND Corporation, examined “the effect of state recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) on workers’ compensation (WC) benefit receipt among adults 40-62 years.”

“Marijuana has increasingly become legalized in the United States. We study the effects of recent state laws that legalize the recreational use of marijuana on work capacity—the ability to productively engage in paid employment—among older working-age adults,” the researchers wrote in the study’s introduction. “We rely primarily on Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefit receipt as a signal of diminished work capacity; WC benefits are received when individuals become injured or ill while working and require time away from work to recover. In addition to providing a useful measure of labor productivity and work capacity, injuries incurred while working represent substantial costs to the national economy.”

They found that workers’ compensation receipt “declines in response to [recreational marijuana laws’] adoption both in terms of the

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