Public Health Implications of Cannabis Policy in Minnesota
This brief uses data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to understand issues related to public health implications of Minnesota cannabis use prior to its 2023 legalization. Along with providing key background information and context on cannabis policy in the United States, this brief specifically examines three oft cited concerns with cannabis legalization:
- The prevalence of cannabis use
- Cannabis abuse and dependence (i.e., addiction)
- Driving under the influence of cannabis
Researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) and Cannabis Research Center (CRC) present data related to these commonly cited concerns from Minnesota, from other states, and from the United States as a whole. Where available and appropriate, estimates for alcohol are also presented for comparison as it is a legal and commonly used psychoactive substance that, like cannabis, entails a range of risks to public health.
The data in this brief are intended to serve as starting points for discussions on the public health impacts of Minnesota cannabis policy. Ultimately, there will be a great need for research into the rapidly evolving cannabis policy landscape and potentially refinements in policy to maximize benefits and minimize harms.
“The implications of cannabis legalization on public health also depend on the risks and benefits associated with cannabis use, which remain areas of uncertainty that warrant further study,” says SHADAC and CRC Researcher Colin Planalp. “It will be crucial for researchers and policymakers to monitor these and other issues into the future.”
- SHADAC blog accompanying this brief - “SHADAC and CRC brief provides pre-legalization data on Minnesota’s cannabis landscape”
- Brief on the United States Opioid Crisis – “Opioid Crisis in the Pandemic Era”
- Explore data on the topic of substance use, alcohol-involved deaths, and more on State Health Compare