Though many would have found a connection between legalizing marijuana in certain states and teen marijuana use, statistics show that the use among adolescents has remained constant.
A recent study published in Monday’s issue of The Lancet Psychiatry Study has investigated the correlations between recent marijuana legalization in certain states and teen marijuana use trends. Deborah Hasin, lead author, explains that the study provides convincing evidence that state legalization of medical marijuana has not contributed to a notable increase in teen use.
In fact, as surprising as it may seem, in 21 states where the drug is legal for medical use, there was a higher use of pot even before legalization (as compared to other states).
The research team used data collected in the “Monitoring the Future” study to come up with these results. “Monitor the Future” contained information from approximately 1 million eight grade, tenth grade and twelfth grade students (or aged thirteen to eighteen) in over 400 schools.
These students all experienced as states legalized the drug, from California’s 1996 bold decision to lead the way to Maryland in 2014 (which became the 21st state to do so).
Students included in the study were asked to complete self-administered questionnaires regarding marijuana consumption alongside other relevant data such as age, education levels, gender, race, class size, the type of school they attended (private or public).
The research team did identify a slight difference in marijuana consumption as 16 percent of teenagers residing in states which had legalized the use of the drug admitted to having used it, as compared to only 13 percent in states which had not legalized pot use.
Yet the difference between before-and-after marijuana legalization was not statistically relevant.
Similar studies produced differing results. For one, high-school seniors (aged 17 to 18) admitted that they would try out the drug if it were legal for general use. That’s precisely why certain lawmakers insist that such legislation can “make it easier for teens to start to smoke marijuana for fun.”
Yet Hasin’s study dismantles the preconceived notion that marijuana laws would contribute to an increased access to marijuana, including in teens.
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