High-Achieving Students Prefer Colleges In States With Legal Cannabis, New Study

Zinger Key Points
  • Colleges in states with legal marijuana experienced a notable, though short-term boost in applications from top-notch students.
  • Even though not of legal age for marijuana, freshmen might believe underage cannabis use might be less harshly punished in legal states.

What are some of the benefits of a state-wide legal cannabis program? 

Apart from dealing with illicit markets and providing safe and tested products to consumers whose taxes boost the economy, a new study reveals one more unexpected treat – a boost in top-notch student applications. 

According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Contemporary Economic Policy, colleges in states where adult-use cannabis became legal in the past decade have experienced a notable, though short-term boost in applications from high-achieving students. These colleges also got more applications overall, writes The Conversation. 

Study Summary 

The study looked at a federal database commonly referred to as IPEDS that offers data on various college metrics, such as the number of applications, demographics, tuition prices, etc. Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

  • In a year a specific state legalized cannabis, and the number of applicants jumped by 5.5% than in states that did not legalize. 
  • The study analyzes controlled-for-school quality, tuition prices, and labor market conditions that may affect student application decisions.
  • The researchers didn't confirm any increase beyond the original spike. 
  • The increase was the highest at the biggest schools, which saw a 54% increase in applications, and public colleges and universities gained more than private ones (though private also saw a spike). 

Don't You Have To Be 21 To Buy Weed? 

One might wonder why cannabis legalization would be an important metric for freshmen who are not of legal age to buy cannabis. One possible explanation, according to the outlet is the general belief that if liberal policies like cannabis legalization exist there could be similarly open policies around other issues, like abortion for example. Another possible option is that students believe underage cannabis use might be less punishable in legal states. It is hard to know for certain, without directly asking students. 

Whatever the reason, the benefit is there and is clear – schools in legal states had a larger pool of higher-achieving applicants to choose from. 

Photo: Benzinga edit with images by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay and Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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