Brookings write…..Liberalizing marijuana has generated debates among the many press, well being officers, legislators, and social activists. Although marijuana is unlawful below federal legal guidelines, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized using medical marijuana. While the controversy continues on legalizing marijuana for non-medical use on the state and federal degree, a paper offered on the 2020 Municipal Finance Conference finds that the passage of medical marijuana legal guidelines will increase state authorities borrowing costs.   

In “Marijuana liberalization and public finance: A capital market perspective on a public health policy, Stephanie Cheng, Gus De Franco, and Pengkai Lin of the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University consider the impression of the passage of medical marijuana legal guidelines on municipal bond spreads from 1990 to 2018.   


After controlling for variations in bonds’ contractual options and adjustments in state financial situations, the passage of medical marijuana legal guidelines enhances the yield on state borrowing relative to yields on Treasuries of the identical maturity by seven foundation factors (0.07 share levels) in comparison with states that don’t. “In dollar terms, MML [medical marijuana laws] increases a state’s interest cost by $7.35 million for the average total issuance amount per year,” the authors calculate. As marijuana utilization will increase after the passage of the legislation, so too does the unfold; a one p.c enhance in use results in a seven foundation level enhance within the unfold.   

The authors discover empirical proof that state’s borrowing costs are greater for states with greater corruption, higher temperatures for cultivating the plant, and larger inhabitants of people extra doubtless to make use of marijuana comparable to youth, African Americans, and concrete residents. This suggests that bondholders are ascribing larger danger to states that will have elevated marijuana utilization. Furthermore, they discover that states that handed medical marijuana legal guidelines have niceer spending on police, correctional services, well being, and public welfare. In comparability, throughout the identical time interval, states that liberalized marijuana did not have larger spending in different areas comparable to highways, pure sources, and parks and recreation.   

 MML drives up states’ expenditures, increases states’ financial burdens, and thus adversely affects states’ debt servicing capacities and credit risks.” the authors conclude.   

Editor’s Note: 

This paper was ready for the 2020 Municipal Finance Conference on July 13 & 14, 2020. The convention is a collaboration of the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the Brandeis International Business School’s Rosenberg Institute of Public Finance, Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin Business School, and the University of Chicago’s Harris Institute of Public Policy. It goals to deliver collectively lecturers, practitioners, issuers, and regulators to debate latest analysis on municipal capital markets and state and native fiscal points. 



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