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Younger workers injured at higher rates in recreational pot states


Younger workers have become injured on the job at higher rates than their older counterparts in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, according to a study published Friday in the JAMA Health Forum.   

Researchers from San Diego State University, Bentley University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside found that recreational marijuana law adoption correlated with a statistically significant increase in workplace injuries among workers between the ages of 20 and 34 between 2006 and 2020.

Recreational marijuana laws were associated with a 12.9% increase in workplace injuries per 100 full-time employees, the study shows.

“Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that recreational marijuana impedes cognitive function and care among younger workers,” the authors wrote. “This differs from older workers, for whom prior research uncovered a decline in workers’ compensation benefit receipt and nontraumatic injuries following RML adoption.”

Researchers used workplace injury data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

The study factored into account medical marijuana laws, decriminalization measures, macroeconomic conditions, substance use policies and maximum workers compensation benefits.