Teens Smoke Less Weed In States That Legalize Marijuana

February 19, 2019

For years lawmakers have cautioned that marijuana would act as a gateway drug for teens, in that it would be the first stop of a lifetime of increasingly harder drug use.  But now that 33 states and the District of Columbia have either medical and recreational laws, some with over 20 years to scrutinize data, recent findings have for that teens actually smoke less marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal than in states where it remains illegal. Researchers said that for every 100 teens, one fewer used pot in state that allows adults to buy and use cannabis for medical purposes, recreation, or both. The effect was more obvious in minority teens, with nearly 7% fewer black and Hispanic teens likely to smoke a joint in states where doing so is legal for adults than in states where it isn't. For the study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the team surveyed more than 800,000 high school students across 45 states over 16 years. Results showed there are 1.1% fewer teenage smokers in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without them. Survey results also found that the longer the law has been in effect in a state, the fewer teen smokers there were. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia with 10 of those states allowing recreational use. Researchers were not able to determine why this is, but other research has suggested that after the enactment of medical marijuana laws, youths' perceptions of the potential harm of marijuana use actually increased. Another theory is that as marijuana laws are becoming more lenient, parents may be increasing their supervision of their children, or changing how they talk to them about drug use.

SOURCE: Daily Mail

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