Further proof that statewide cannabis legalization policies are not associated with any significant rise in either the use of marijuana by young people or in their ability to access it.
Data released on Wednesday from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has shown an unprecedented year-over-year decline in young people’s use of marijuana and other controlled substances.
The authors noted, “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.”
Specifically, the data identified a 38% year-over-year reduction in self-reported marijuana use among eighth-graders, a 38% decline among 10th graders, and a 13% decrease among 12th graders.
“We have never seen such dramatic decreases in drug use among teens in just a one-year period,” said Nora Volkow, director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a press release. NIDA funded the study. “These data are unprecedented and highlight one unexpected potential consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused seismic shifts in the day-to-day lives of adolescents.”
In September, Dr. Volkow publicly acknowledged in a podcast with Ethan Nadelmann, former Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, that the enactment of statewide laws regulating the adult-use cannabis market has not led to an increase in the percentage of young people experimenting with the substance. Only last week, Volkow said in an interview that there was no proof that smoking cannabis was harmful.
The MTF findings, which come just months after the US National Institutes of Health released similar conclusions, also noted that there has been a dramatic year-over-year decrease in cannabis use by those ages 12 to 17.
“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,” NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano said in an email statement.
Armentano pointed out that Monitoring the Future’s findings are consistent with numerous other studies that have concluded that statewide cannabis legalization policies are not associated with any significant rise in either the use of marijuana by young people or in their ability to access it.