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The Proof's in the Pot: Are There Relationships between Statewide Cannabis Legislation and Child Maltreatment Substantiation?
AuthorBradshaw, Kim Diane
AdvisorBerthelot, Emily R.
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Abstract The legalization of cannabis, in the form of medical marijuana laws (MML) and recreational marijuana laws (RML), has proliferated in the United States over the past ten years. The impact of these laws, especially regarding how they affect the well-being of children, is not well understood. Research has consistently correlated caregiver substance abuse with higher rates of child maltreatment (CM), although the specific mechanism that contributes to this correlation is less explicit. This study took advantage of the variations in state-level cannabis laws to compare the rates of CM, and case disposition outcomes of caregiver drug and alcohol abuse risk factors, between different legal statuses. The results of multiple and binary logistic regression analyses support initial increases in the rates of CM in RML states. Additionally, MML and RML substantiated cases demonstrate an increased probability of caregiver alcohol misuse but decreased odds of cases containing, caregiver drug use and economic risk factors. Keywords: Child Maltreatment, Alcohol misuse, Substance misuse, Medical Marijuana Laws, Recreational Marijuana Laws, Social Disorganization