Studies show that states that have legalized marijuana does not increase teen use
Researchers analyzed information from more than 1 million U.S. teens in grades 8, 10 and 12, who were asked if they had used marijuana in the past month. The research spans 24 years from 1991 to 2014.
What the research shows is that teen use of marijuana doesn’t seem to change when states pass laws legalizing the drug for medical purposes.
16 percent of teens in states where medical marijuana is legal said they had used marijuana in the past month by comparison,13 percent of teens in states where medical marijuana is not legalized. Teen marijuana use was more common in states that had passed medical marijuana.
Two smaller studies found that marijuana use among teens did not increase following the legalization of medical marijuana.
The research “provides the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalizes medical marijuana”, said study co-author Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.
Dr. Seth Ammerman, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, called the findings “reassuring,” because they show “if a state does put in medical marijuana laws, that that’s not going to significantly affect adolescent use.”
The fact that states with legalized medical marijuana have higher teen marijuana use in general — both before and after laws were passed — could be because people in those states have a more liberal attitude toward the drug, Ammerman said.