New study: college students who lost access to marijuana improved their grades

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

This is from the radically leftist fake news site Washington Post, of all places. Thankfully, the study was done by scientists, not by journalists.

Excerpt:

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.

Other studies have tried to estimate the impact of marijuana legalization by studying those U.S. states that legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana. But marijuana policy researcher Rosalie Pacula of RAND Corporation noted that the Maastricht study provide evidence that “is much better than anything done so far in the United States.”

The author of that article is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. Should be reliable.

The best way to learn about the effects of legalizing drugs like marijuana is to look at where it’s been tried. We don’t have to look far, just to Colorado.

The Daily Signal reports on a peer-reviewed study about Colorado.

Excerpt:

A published academic peer-reviewed study and another thorough study set to be released next Monday show:

  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado since 2009
  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado compared to non-“medical marijuana” states since 2009
  • Alcohol-related fatalities remained the same

[…]Marijuana was in essence legalized in Colorado in 2009, when the state commercialized the sale of so-called “medical marijuana.” By commercializing the sale, and thus consumption of marijuana across the state, the state saw a large increase in use by its citizens, and citizens from other states, so-called pot tourists.

In other words, 2009 was a pivotal year for Colorado and its’ drivers.

In the three years prior to 2009 (2006-2008), Colorado averaged 35 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana in fatal accidents.

In the three years after 2009 (2010-2012), Colorado averaged 57.3 drivers per year who tested positive for marijuana use in fatal accidents—a 64 percent increase over the pre-2009 numbers.

And here is another report that explains some of the other effects of legalizing marijuana.

Excerpt:

According to the new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” the impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado has resulted in:

  1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.
  2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.
  3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.
  4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.
  5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.
  6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
  7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.

The report includes other data about the negative effect of legalizing marijuana in Colorado, including marijuana-related exposure to children, treatment, the flood of marijuana in and out of Colorado, the dangers of pot extraction labs and other disturbing factual trends.

Part of me thinks that posting this is futile. Sensible people will not be surprised by these studies, but the libertarians and Democrats who think that legalized pot is just wonderful are probably so brain-damaged already that they won’t care what studies say at all. Marijuana is dangerous and addictive. We shouldn’t legalize it, and we shouldn’t normalize it.

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2 thoughts on “New study: college students who lost access to marijuana improved their grades”

  1. Thank you! You’re correct, though, that those supporting legalized marijuana usage will just ignore what effects have been reported through these studies. The push for legalization is growing here in New Mexico. It’s frustrating because we rank 49th in the nation regarding education and we’re high on the list for crime, child abuse, domestic violence,etc. Nonetheless, I will share this post. Hopefully someone will listen.

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