It’s not uncommon to see marijuana described as harmless — a claim that suggests that legalizing the drug will carry few, if any, major negative consequences.
Not so fast. According to a study recently published in The Review of Economic Studies, access to legal marijuana may significantly reduce academic performance.
The study took advantage of a natural experiment in the Dutch city of Maastricht. In 2011, the city sought to pull back some of the marijuana tourism going to its coffee shops, where marijuana sales are legally tolerated. So through the local association of cannabis shop owners, it banned some foreigners of certain nationalities from buying pot at these venues.
This let researchers Olivier Marie and Ulf Zölitz, in the cleverly titled “‘High’ Achievers? Cannabis Access and Academic Performance,” compare the academic outcomes of Maastricht University students with varying levels of access to legal pot.
What they found: