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Medical Marijuana Laws and Disability Applications, Receipts, and Terminations

Johanna Catherine Maclean, Keshar M. Ghimire, Lauren Hersch Nicholas

NBER Working Paper No. 23862
Issued in September 2017, Revised in April 2019
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Economics, Law and Economics, Labor Studies

We study the effect of state medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on disability claiming. MMLs allow qualifying patients to legally use marijuana for medical purposes. We examine Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications, new beneficiaries, and terminations. We use administrative data from the Social Security Administration coupled with a differences-in-differences design to study this question. We find that MML adoption increases application and new beneficiary rates, and reduces termination rates, although new beneficiary rate estimates are somewhat imprecise.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23862

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