Harvard Study Finds Marijuana Legalization Is Good for Innovation

There are numerous ways that marijuana legalization benefits society: increased tax revenue, less arrests and many more. But it turns out there's another way it helps: Innovation.

A study conducted by members of the Harvard Business Review found that marijuana legalization and other social issues helped to contribute to innovation more than economic incentives. The researchers examined how a government's handling of social policies affected innovation. They looked at three issues: marijuana legalization, gay marriage and abortion restrictions.

They found that states that either legalized marijuana or allowed gay marriage saw an increase in innovation at around five to six percent. Meanwhile states that passed abortion restriction bills saw a decrease in innovation of one percent. 

social liberalization innovation policies

The researchers offered an explanation for why that would be the case. Social liberalization policies led to more diverse social interactions among individuals. Diverse interactions is a direct cause of innovation, as people are exposed to more ideas and feedback than they would in other environments. With more exposure to ideas and feedback, people make better and smarter innovations than they would otherwise.

It's like the idea that Google or another tech company puts ping pong tables everywhere to foster a certain type of environment. Marijuana legalization and other social liberalization policies basically do the same thing at the state level.

So if your state's trying to attract the next Google, they should forget about offering tax breaks and instead legalize marijuana.

(h/t Harvard Business Review)

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