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Headlines: Workplace Safety Improved In Marijuana States

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Headlines: Workplace Safety Improved In Marijuana States

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Workers appear to be safer in states that have legalized medical marijuana, according to a new study. The research, scheduled to be published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in October, is the first of its kind to explore the relationship between medical cannabis laws and workplace fatalities. Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1992 to 2015, a team of researchers found that workplace deaths declined by about 34 percent five years after a state legalized medical cannabis. The trend was most pronounced among workers between the ages of 25 and 44. Theoretically, if people use marijuana as an alternative to alcohol or pharmaceuticals like opioid-based painkillers, the risk of impairment on the job could be lower, the researchers wrote. And the data seems to back that up. Though the exact cause behind the trend warrants further research, one finding seems to substantiate the substitution theory: rates of workplace fatalities were lower in states that include pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

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