Zhen Xuen Brandon Low, Xin Ru Lee, Tomoko Soga, Bey Hing Goh, Deepa Alex, Yatinesh Kumari


June 30,  2023


Recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) continue to grow in popularity, but the effects on mental health treatment are unclear. This paper uses an event-study within a difference-in-differences framework to study the short-run impact of state RMLs on admissions into mental health treatment facilities. The results indicate that shortly after a state adopts an RML, they experience a decrease in the average number of mental health treatment admissions. The findings are driven by white, Black, and Medicaid-funded admissions and are consistent for both male and female admissions. The results are robust to alternative specifications and sensitivity analysis.


DOI: 10.1002/hec.4726


Ortega, A. (2023). The highs and the lows: Recreational marijuana laws and mental health treatment. Health Economics.