Study Showed Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Increase Youth Use

On September 7, the results of the American Medical Association study of the relationship between youth marijuana use and its legalization for medical and recreational use were published. The researchers concluded that youth weed use doesn’t increase after the legalization. Instead, they found that the changes impact on adolescent cannabis use. 

What did the study find?

The researchers analyzed federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey data collected from 1993-2019 in 10 states. This is the data from studies on the cannabis regulations impact on youth consumptions. 

Recreational cannabis legalization “was not associated with current marijuana use or frequent marijuana use,” researchers stated. They also found that “medical marijuana law (MML) adoption was associated with a 6% decrease in the odds of current marijuana use and a 7% decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use.” 

According to the study results, there was a decrease in youth cannabis consumption in states where recreational marijuana use had been legalized for 2 or more years. In conclusion researchers said, “there was little evidence that RMLs or MMLs encourage youth marijuana use.” They will be able to speak more accurately about the relationship between recreational cannabis use and adolescent marijuana use after there is more post-legalization data as recreational marijuana is a new phenomenon. 

What is the reason? 

The researchers do not explain the reason for such a condition. 

Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marjiuana Policy Project, suggested that the reason is that legal cannabis businesses are required to strictly check the IDs of their customers, and the unregulated market lacks such protections.

Nora Volkow, director of National Institute on Drug Abuse, admitted that the states having legalized cannabis have better outcomes while “the adverse effects of marijana use are much worse in some states.” 

What about other reports?

In May, 2021, the U.S. The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published an analysis of studies of youth from 2009 to 2019. They concluded that there’s been “no measurable difference” in the number of youth in grades 9-12 reporting cannabis use at least once in the past 30 days. According to the report, there weren’t any significant changes in the percentage of students marijuana use before or after legalization. 

Monitoring the Future (MTF) published a report on December, 2020. The students from 8th, 10th and 12th grades were respondents. According to the results, marijuana use “did not significantly change in any of the three grades for lifetime use, past 12-month use, past 30-day use, and daily use from 2019-2020.”