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Marijuana use among younger workers may be leading to increased injuries

Photo: Talaj/iStockphoto

Somers, WI — States where recreational marijuana sales are legal have seen a nearly 10% increase in on-the-job injuries among 20- to 34-year-old workers, according to a new study.

Since 2012, 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use. Using 2006-2020 data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, a team led by a researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside looked at 632 state-by-year observations with information on age-specific workplace injuries. 

Findings also show that the injury rate per 100 workers rose 8.4% in the states that allow recreational marijuana use. In contrast, no link between workplace injuries and marijuana use was found in the states that don’t permit the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

The researchers say the findings regarding younger workers are consistent with a hypothesis that recreational use impedes cognitive function and care. They speculate that marijuana use among older workers differs in that it’s used for pain management instead of recreational purposes.

The study was published online in the JAMA Health Forum.

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