New data shows no link between increasing adolescent cannabis use and legal markets
A new study says there is no evidence of a correlation between states that have legal adult cannabis markets and increased cannabis use among adolescents. Researchers suggest that limited accessibility caused by strict regulations may be the reason; however, the finding does not take into account the thriving black markets of the states which have very restrictive laws regarding the sale of marijuana.
The result comes from data compiled by a team of investigators affiliated with Boston College, which examined more than one million high school students over a period of 1999 to 2017 (in 2012, Colorado and Washington were the first American states. legalize cannabis for adults). Posted in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the data showed that not only was there no evidence to link an increase in adolescent marijuana use in states where recreational marijuana is legal, but “the frequency of use has decreased 16 percent after [recreational marijuana legalization]. “
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Recently, the number of young people admitted to drug treatment programs for “problems with marijuana” has fallen sharply in states that have legalized and regulated its use among adults.
Explaining the idea that legalizing medical marijuana does not encourage the use of marijuana among young people, a 2019 study published in Pediatrics JAMA postulated that it “may actually decline after recreational legalization”. The reason may have more to do with limited accessibility after the regulations come into effect versus a change in attitude towards marijuana. Simply put, teens might have a harder time obtaining marijuana “as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”
Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit focused on the legalization of marijuana, hailed the finding to dispel “sensational” claims made by enemies of legalization who claim that legal markets lead to a marked increase consumption among young people. In a public statement, he said the data “adds to the a growing volume of scientific literature showing that legalization policies can be implemented in a way that provides access to adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and misuse. “