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Has Medical Marijuana Changed Michigan? Google Says No.

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Well, there goes one of the oppositions arguments down in smoke. But I guess they've never let facts stand in their way before and they probably won't now.


Has Medical Marijuana Changed Michigan? Google Says No.


The digital world produces data. That data tells a story. Often, we unwillingly make our personal data part of a story. In the case of iphones, all of your movements may be released to the Michigan State Police without your permission. What does this data say about medical marijuana?


A particular data set is created every time you submit a google search. And google being google, allows everyday users to examine this data through google trends and google insight. I thought it would be interesting to see how the State of Michigan has used google to answer questions about marijuana.


The graph below shows the search-volume for the terms “marijuana” and “medical marijuana” in Michigan from 2004 to present day. If you click on the picture, you will be redirected to the google trends page which explains the letter markers.


Google trends even breaks down the search-volume by city. The Michigan city searching for marijuana most often: Holt, by a landslide. Michigan was fourth nationally, behind Colorado, Oregon and Maine.


So what can we learn from this data? I believe the biggest takeaway is that, discounting the spikes around the 2008 and 2010 elections, Michigan’s curiosity with marijuana has remained relatively stable for the last 7 years. Yes, slightly more people search for marijuana now then in 2004. And google insight searches for the past 12 months show a marked increase in searching for “medical marijuana dispensaries,” which is to be expected considering their rapid growth.


But, we don’t see a dramatic increase in the number of searches for marijuana subsequent to the passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (state law spells marijuana with an “h”). This shows what most people with a realistic view of the world understand: those that want to use marijuana will do so, medical card or not.


Of course, I am making an assumption that google searches translate into usage rate. But, when people need answers, they turn to google. Those numbers show Michigan has roughly the same amount of questions regarding marijuana today as we did in 2004. Those numbers don’t lie.

Play around on google trends and google insights and see what you can find. As always, please leave your thoughts or comments below.

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Prison rates are down around 6%, I will infer that this is significantly related to the Medicinal Cannabis Program. And a definite increase in quality of life for those participating in this program, as well as those that are not unjustly imprisoned.


Maybe imperceptible to Googles' statisticians currently, this should be a little incentive for them, to hone their sensors and make the necessary corrections, forthwith ! TY

Edited by solabeirtan
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