Cover: Understanding Patterns in Medical Marijuana Laws

Understanding Patterns in Medical Marijuana Laws

A Latent Class and Transition Analysis

Published Jul 26, 2013

by Priscillia Hunt, Jeremy N. V. Miles, Anne E. Boustead

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This paper provides quantitative evidence on the underlying views of voters and state lawmakers about the legitimacy of medical marijuana based on voter- and legislature-adopted statutes between 1990 and 2012. Using latent class analysis and transition analysis, it determines whether state laws reveal underlying beliefs about the legitimacy of medical marijuana and the likelihoods of changing classes. Five distinct classes were identified: (1) Unacceptable; (2) Research Purposes; (3) Pharmaceutical Framework; (4) Home Remedy; and (5) Mixed Supply. Jurisdictions have a statistically greater likelihood of transitioning to a more varied supply framework if they have already passed a ballot initiative with home cultivation supply only and patient-recommended registration. A coordinated and flexible public health and public safety approach is needed to address the relevant legal frameworks adopted over time.

The research described in this report was prepared for the National Institute on Drug Abuse was conducted by RAND Health and RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment (JIE).

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