Workplace Marijuana Bans Weigh into use Decisions, Yale Study Finds

Article by Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post

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About a quarter of people surveyed in states set about to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana will never imbibe — regardless of how loosely it is regulated — while one in five will consume regardless of what approach states take following legalization.

But for the majority in-between, things like cost, government tracking of purchases and workplace bans all weigh into the decision on whether to consume or not, said Mike McLaughlin, a graduate student at Yale School of Public Health.

“It is a key issue,” McLaughlin said of workplace prohibitions on marijuana.

McLaughlin, who presented his research findings Monday at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Denver, tried to uncover what issues mattered most to residents in five states that have legalization on their ballots, and what regulatory approaches states might take if they wanted to influence usage.

He surveyed 534 adults in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Michigan, measuring their responses under four scenarios.

About 5 percent of respondents said a state tracking marijuana purchases would deter them from using, while a similar share said the possibility of arrest for smoking in public would influence them. A price hike of around $20 a gram, orchestrated through higher taxes and fees, would curtail use by another 5 percentage point.

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