Despite the myth that marijuana legalization might decrease users' workplace productivity, the journal Health Economics has recently published a study that reveals the opposite effect of medical marijuana on employees.
The study findings have shown that employees demonstrate an 8% smaller absentee rate in the states where medical cannabis regulations are in force. The study was based on the employee absenteeism data from 24 medical cannabis states received from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey. After analyzing the information, researchers discovered an 8% decrease in sick day requests among employees who worked in states with legalized medical cannabis.
In addition, further research conducted by the Current Population Survey shows that less strict medical cannabis programs also have other positive consequences in comparison with states where marijuana laws are stricter.
For instance, the states where the lists of qualifying conditions include a larger number of diseases to be treated with marijuana also showed a 13% decrease in employee absentee rate. Moreover, the group of respondents aged 30-39 years old reported a 15% decrease in call-offs comparing to the time before the medical cannabis laws adoption.
Researchers are sure that thanks to medical cannabis legalization, sick employees can relieve their disabling symptoms, so there is no reason to be absent from workplace anymore.
In contrast, some skeptics claim that medical marijuana might not be the main reason for the absentee rates decrease, as there are also other factors, such as better health of employees or better workplace health and wellness programs. However, the study shows the main decrease in employee absentee rate among middle-aged employees, who are most likely to obtain medical cannabis cards.
Absenteeism is also often caused by drinking alcohol, but other studies have discovered that in medical marijuana states, people tend to consume less alcohol, so the problem of heavy drinking is also decreased.
Moreover, thanks to fewer medical issues and less absenteeism at the workplace, employers can decrease their labor costs and increase the profitability of their businesses.