Milwaukee, WI: The enactment of statewide medical cannabis laws is associated with a decrease in the number of reported workplace absences due to sickness, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Health Economics.
An economist from the University of Wisconsin analyzed work absence data following the enactment of medical marijuana laws in 24 states, with an emphasis on sickness-related absenteeism among individuals most likely to be eligible for cannabis therapy.
Those full-time employees between the ages of 50 and 59 were 13 percent less likely to report absences due to illness following medical marijuana legalization. Those ages 40 to 49 were 11 percent less likely to do so, and those ages 30 to 39 were 16 percent less likely to report a medical-related absence.
"Although there is not a direct identification of those who use marijuana for medical purposes in the data, overall sickness absence is reduced for those in age and gender groups most likely to be cardholders," the author concluded. "The results of this paper therefore suggest that medical marijuana legalization would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues."