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Almost National Marijuana Legalization Not Leading To Increased Teen Use

As more states opt to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana, the fear of soaring high kids has been used among those opposed to regulation. Nope.

But new data published ahead of print in Preventative Medicine, shows that the fear has no basis in fact. Researchers at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reviewed statewide marijuana since legalization and found cannabis used remain relatively unchanged.

According to the report:

“Marijuana use, both among adults and among youth, does not appear to be increasing to date. No change was observed in past 30-day marijuana use among adults between 2014 (13.6 percent) and 2015 (13.4 percent). Similarly, there was no statistically significant change in 30-day or lifetime marijuana use among high school students between 2013 (lifetime: 36.9 percent, 30-day: 19.7 percent) and 2015 (lifetime: 38.0 percent, 30-day: 21.2 percent).”

The Colorado research echoes the data released last year from the Centers for Disease Control.

The passage of statewide laws regulating the consumption of cannabis by adults and/or qualified patients is not associated with increased rates of teen marijuana use, according to a statistical analysis provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC report showed that the percentage of high-schoolers who have tried marijuana fell from 43 percent in 1995 to just under 39 percent in 2015. The percentage of teens currently used cannabis at least once in the past 30 days also dropped from 25 percent in 1995 to just under 22 percent in 2015.

Also last year at the Pediatric Academic Society’s annual meeting, it was reported that legalization in the state of Washington had no effect on teens’ access to cannabis. The summary of the research concluded:

“Despite concerns that legalizing marijuana use for adults would make it easier for adolescents to get ahold of it, a new study in Washington State shows that teens find it no easier now than before the law was passed in 2012.”

“It is both surprising and reassuring that teens didn’t perceive that marijuana was easier to access after it was legalized for recreational use by adults,” said senior investigator Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.


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