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A Quasi-Experiment on Pot and Academic Success

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Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry at Stanford, has this post at the WaPo Wonkblog:

The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has identified a disturbing result: College students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.
Economists Olivier Marie and Ulf Zölitz took advantage of a decision by Maastricht, a city in the Netherlands, to change the rules for "cannabis cafes," which legally sell recreational marijuana. Because Maastricht is very close to the border of multiple European countries (Belgium, France and Germany), drug tourism was posing difficulties for the city. Hoping to address this, the city barred noncitizens of the Netherlands from buying from the cafes.

This policy change created an intriguing natural experiment at Maastricht University, because students there from neighboring countries suddenly were unable to access legal pot, while students from the Netherlands continued.

The research on more than 4,000 students, published in the Review of Economic Studies, found that those who lost access to legal marijuana showed substantial improvement in their grades. Specifically, those banned from cannabis cafes had a more than 5 percent increase in their odds of passing their courses. Low performing students benefited even more, which the researchers noted is particularly important because these students are at high-risk of dropping out. The researchers attribute their results to the students who were denied legal access to marijuana being less likely to use it and to suffer cognitive impairments (e.g., in concentration and memory) as a result.

1 Comment

Kent,
You’re missing the motivation of the deep-thinking pro-marijuana
(democrat) crowd, with all due respect.

It’s not that they think it’s specifically good for developing brains, school
or job performance, eliminating the black market, industiousness,
safe driving, or sobriety.

The reason to make it legal, is because it’s not legal,
“because the pharmaceutical companies don’t want the competition of marijuana”.
--NJ State Sen. Scutari

Yeah, as deliberately vague as it is vacuous,
I have heretofore founnd the quality of pro-legalization arguments
equivalent to a politician who pledges
'I believe in toleration!'.

[I’m probably missing it also; maybe it’s a ‘more-money-for-gov’t.
programs/redistribution through taxation'
motive.]

~ https://youtu.be/rHE_sdpVXdY

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