The kids, as they say, are quite alright in Washington state. Any preceding worry that legalizing recreational cannabis would drive increased usage appear misguided, according to a new study from the Washington state legislature’s think tank.
As the Seattle Times first reported, youth marijuana use and cannabis-abuse treatment admission have not risen in the state since implementing cannabis laws three years ago. Under stipulations from Initative-502, the state’s marijuana law, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) must periodically administer cost-benefit analyses regarding the legalization of cannabis. This can run anywhere from prenatal usage to driving while high.
“In these initial investigations, we found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions,” the study states. “Further, within Washington State, we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions.
“We found no evidence of effects of the amount of legal cannabis sales on indicators of youth cannabis use in grades 8, 10, and 12,” the study also states.
The study comes following Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemnation of Washington’s cannabis law, a statement that was later criticized by Governor Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Inslee and Ferguson emphasized that they’d like to meet with Sessions to better explain how the state’s laws and systems work with regards to cannabis.
However, the study did report that those living in Washington counties with increased levels of legal sales were considered more likely to consume marijuana. They also were more likely to consume cannabis more frequently, as based on state telephone surveys.
But as Adam Darnell, the lead researcher and author of the study, told the Seattle Times, “It’s not earth-shattering that people were using more of a product they’re buying more of.”