Washington State Institute for Public Policy
December 2016
Initiative 502 (I-502) legalized recreational cannabis for adults in Washington State. The law directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to conduct a benefit-cost evaluation of the implementation of I-502.

In this report we summarize the research evidence for 51 programs for the prevention or treatment of youth cannabis use. The programs reviewed include those nominated by DBHR as well as programs from WSIPP’s current set of inventories that have evidence for cannabis outcomes.
Download: Report Inventory
September 2015
Initiative 502, passed by Washington voters in November 2012, legalized the limited adult possession and private consumption of cannabis, as well as its licensed production and sale. The initiative directs WSIPP to evaluate the impact of the law in a series of reports between 2015 and 2032.

It is too early in the history of I-502 to evaluate outcomes. This first required report describes the research plan for the overall study and presents preliminary data on the status of implementation of the law as of June 30, 2015. Ultimately, WSIPP’s evaluation will include a full descriptive study of implementation; an outcome study to identify causal effects of the law on a range of outcomes (e.g., substance use and abuse, health, criminal justice, traffic safety); and a benefit-cost analysis of the net economic impact of the law.
Download: Report
December 2014
The 2014 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to identify programs and policies that can decrease tobacco and e-cigarette use and yield the greatest return on investment. WSIPP employed its standard approach to reviewing research evidence and conducting benefit-cost analysis.

We identified 40 topics with research of sufficient rigor to allow us to draw conclusions about effectiveness. Of the 40, we found that 33 produce, on average, reductions in tobacco use. We identified a few programs that have undesirable effects on outcomes.

Our findings apply to tobacco prevention and cessation strategies. For e-cigarettes, unfortunately, we were unable to locate any rigorous evaluations that measure the impact of prevention strategies. In this report we summarize state regulations as of October 2014 related to e-cigarettes.
October 2014
Initiative 502, passed by Washington voters in November 2012, legalized recreational cannabis use for adults in the state. The initiative directs WSIPP to evaluate the policy in a series of reports between 2015 and 2032.

As part of this assignment, we reviewed the evaluation literature on 23 youth marijuana prevention and treatment programs. This review updates an earlier report that focused on a subset of the programs; to view the initial report click here.
November 2013
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy is directed to conduct a benefit-cost analysis of the implementation of I-502, which legalizes recreational cannabis use for adults within the state. As a preliminary step, we analyzed population-level data to begin monitoring four key indicators of cannabis use prior to implementation.

We used data from the 2002 to 2011 administrations of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine trends in the prevalence of current cannabis use, lifetime cannabis use, age of initiation, and cannabis abuse or dependency. We examined these trends separately for youth and adults in Washington, and also provide estimates for Colorado (the other state that has legalized recreational cannabis use) and the rest of the United States (US).

Examining trends in this manner will allow us to monitor whether the implementation of I-502 appears to affect these key indicators of marijuana use over time. Although more sophisticated analyses will be required for us to evaluate the policy, these initial trends provide a baseline to compare future data against. The prevalence of cannabis use in the past 30 days—a key indicator of the proportion of people who are current cannabis users—appears to be on the rise in recent years among both youth and adults in Washington, Colorado, and the US. The other indicators of use appear to be relatively stable or increasing slightly over time. In general, the estimates from Washington are slightly higher than the US and slightly lower than Colorado.

We will continue to monitor these trends over time within the context of our larger benefit-cost analysis to examine whether the new policy appears to affect marijuana use rates within the state.
Download: Full Report
January 2013
The 2012 Legislature directed the Institute, in collaboration with the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission and experts on domestic violence, to update its analysis of the literature on domestic violence (DV) treatment. We were also directed to 1) report on other treatments and programs for DV offenders and the general offender population; 2) survey other states to study how misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases are handled; and 3) report recidivism rates for DV offenders in Washington. This first report summarizes our findings regarding DV treatment and other programs and treatments.
April 2012
The 2009 Washington Legislature directed the Institute to “calculate the return on investment to taxpayers from evidence-based prevention and intervention programs and policies.” The Legislature instructed the Institute to produce “a comprehensive list of programs and policies that improve . . . outcomes for children and adults in Washington and result in more cost-efficient use of public resources.” This report summarizes our findings as of April 2012. Readers can download the technical appendix for details about our methods.
December 2009
The 2009 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy “to calculate the return on investment to taxpayers from evidence-based prevention and intervention programs and policies.”

This short report summarizes the four-step approach the Institute is taking to this assignment.
  • First, we describe how we assess research evidence from throughout the United States to determine what works and what does not.
  • Second, we indicate how we calculate costs and benefits for Washington.
  • Third, we briefly discuss our procedures to provide a “portfolio-level” analysis on how a set of policy options could affect the statewide outcomes identified by the Legislature.
  • Fourth, we describe our approach to testing the uncertainty in our conclusions.
Download: Initial Report
June 2009
The 2008 Washington State Legislature directed the Institute to evaluate evidence-based intervention and prevention programs for truancy. Because truancy and school dropout are closely linked, we also examined dropout prevention programs. In this report, we investigated whether targeted school, court, and law enforcement programs for middle and high school students affect educational outcomes, including high school graduation, dropping out, achievement, and attendance. The results of 22 studies were aggregated, and effective program types are identified.
June 2009
This report describes attendance problems in Washington’s schools by identifying the rates of chronically truant students. These students may be the target of multiple school-based interventions, which are the focus of the current report. In 2008, the Washington State Legislature directed the Institute to survey truancy-specific intervention programs and services currently available in Washington’s school districts. Due to the close link between chronic truancy and dropping out, we investigated not only programs for students with specific attendance problems but also those for students at a larger risk of school failure. We also investigated several community-based collaborations that include school district partners and analyzed gaps in student access to existing school services.
Download: Full Report
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