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Marijuana Use During Marriage Lowers Domestic Violence Rates: Study

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on August 26, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The conventional wisdom is that increased use of drugs and alcohol in married couples leads to greater risk of domestic violence.

However, the results of a new study are casting some doubt on that wisdom, at least as far as marijuana is concerned, reports The Huffington Post.

Does hitting the bong as a married couple really make it less likely that you'll hit your spouse?

The study, conducted by researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers, looked at 634 couples over three years in New York state.

The researchers found that more frequent marijuana use by both husbands and wives predicted fewer incidents of intimate partner violence (IPV) over the first nine years of a couple's marriage, perpetrated by either spouse. It also found that couples in which both spouses used marijuana reported the fewest incidents of IPV.

The only configuration in which marijuana use seemed to increase the likelihood of domestic violence was among wives who had reported perpetrating IPV before getting married.

But Marijuana Possession Is Still a Crime in Most Places

While the study seems to suggest that joint use of marijuana by spouses may lessen odds of physical violence between them, marijuana possession is still a crime in many states.

Although adults in Colorado and Washington can now possess pot without fear of criminal prosecution (although marijuana is still technically illegal under federal law), in many states, possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia can still earn you jail time, even for a first-time offense. In Kentucky, for example, marijuana possession is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail.

Even in jurisdictions that have decriminalized marijuana possession, such as Washington D.C., you may still be fined and have your stash confiscated.

So before you light up that joint with the love of your life, you may want to double-check the marijuana possession laws in your state. FindLaw's section on State Drug Possession Laws is a good place to start.

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