Research Mentor(s): Daniel Kruger, Research Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Institute for Social Research,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 6
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis. In the roughly 25 years since then, nearly 35 states have passed legislation to make medical cannabis legal. A similar state-level trend for the legalization of recreational marijuana started in 2012. The population eligible for medical marijuana use has been growing, as has the population affected by the legalization of recreational cannabis. In order to determine how quickly these markets are changing and to help pinpoint years that may have been particularly influential, data was gathered that tracks adult population by state and year. This data was assembled in 2 separate groups; one where states have legalized medical marijuana, and another where states have legalized recreational marijuana (often in addition to medical). The trends observed demonstrate that the population prohibited from any type of marijuana use – recreational or medical – has been decreasing, as the populations for medical use and recreational use have been increasing fairly steadily, with large population jumps corresponding to new states’ legalization, in 2014 and 2016 in particular. By 2016, more of the US population lived in states where cannabis was legal for medical use than where it was prohibited.