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Teen Marijuana Use Declines In Post-Legalization Washington

The regulation of adult cannabis use in Washington is not associated with any increase in teen marijuana use or abuse rates, according to a report to the state legislature compiled by researchers at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Authors reported that rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among young people since lawmakers enacted legalization in 2012. These declines were most pronounced among 8th and 10th graders.

Among adults, rates of cannabis use have increased. However, there has been no corresponding rise in adults’ use of alcohol or tobacco, or in the number of adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse during this time period.

Researchers concluded: “We found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. … [and] we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.”

Separate studies from Colorado and Oregon similarly report that the enactment of adult use marijuana regulations has not adversely impacted youth use patterns in those states.

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