A new study shows that, once again, legal weed doesn’t impact youth use. In fact, it might actually deter it.
Every year, a different organization conducts a survey where they inquire whether or not marijuana legalization has impacted cannabis use in young people. And every year we get the same results: a resounding no, proving that despite an open market for weed, it’s not easier for young people to access it.
The newest study confirms that fact yet again.
The analysis was published by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation (CPEAR), and debunks many of prohibitionists’ concerns, primarily the drug’s impact on young people, whose brains are still in development.
🚨NEW STUDY🚨: CPEAR released its latest paper on #cannabis and youth prevention today. A regulatory framework rooted in science and data can provide solutions to address youth misuse concerns.
— Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (@CPEARCoalition) March 16, 2022
While many who stand in the way of legal marijuana claim that the acceptance of the drug is risky, exposing teens and young adults to drugs that may have secondary side effects, CPEAR argues the opposite. They find evidence that government guidance and cannabis research teach this population to be more conscious and prevent the underage use of the drug.
“CPEAR believes local communities should be at the core of any effort to reduce youth use and misuse of cannabis. These efforts include afterschool programs comprised of measurable targets on a timely basis,” says the report.
CPEAR’s study is the latest to suggest that legal marijuana has no impact on teen and young adult use. In December of last year, a survey from the University of Michigan showed that teens lowered their cannabis use over the past year. “The percentage of students who reported using marijuana (in all forms, including smoking and vaping) within the past year decreased significantly for eighth, 10th, and 12th grade students,” said the authors.
NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano said that these results show that marijuana regulation policies have a positive impact on young people. “These latest findings add to the growing body of scientific literature showing that marijuana regulation policies can be implemented in a manner that provides access for adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and misuse,” he said in an email.
There’s no clear reason as to why teens and young adults are decreasing their cannabis use. While it may be unrelated to cannabis’ embrace across states, it at least shows that legal cannabis programs don’t make it easy for underage people to access drugs; while the black market allows for some leeway, legal cannabis businesses can’t afford that same luxury.