Rhet Smith from the University of Georgia will be presenting his paper, "Weeding out Workplace Accidents? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries on Workplace Safety."
"The costs of substance use on labor productivity may arise from a number of sources. The primary focus of prior research has been on wages and employment status while presuming a positive correlation between drug use and workplace accidents, if mentioned. I exploit geographic and temporal variation in medical marijuana laws and dispensary openings to investigate the effect the increased access to marijuana has on occupational injuries at nearby firms. I pair a self-constructed, historically comprehensive, marijuana dispensary directory with establishment-level OSHA reported injuries to find that firms in a dispensary county experience six percent fewer lost-workday-injuries following the opening of the dispensary. This unexpected effect results in an estimated $3,649 in savings to employers per 100 full time equivalent (FTE) workers as measured by lost earnings and fringe benefits. Service industry firms, however, do not realize the same benefits as they experience a nine percent increase in lost-workday-injury incidence rates in the first year of dispensary operations."
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