Ever since the advent news of progressive movements towards the legalization of Marijuana, there have been rumors and speculations amongst people, arguing that the legalization of Marijuana might in turn cause underage children or teenagers to use Marijuana more frequently than usual.
As it turns out, their fears were wrong. A very thorough study published in The Lancet Psychiatry established that there have been no significant changes in the Marijuana usage pattern amongst adolescents in any of the 21 states which incorporate the Legalized Marijuana Laws.
Was this study solid you ask? Well it is! Apparently this study was conducted using data’s spanning more than 24 years collected from over a million teenagers in 48 states.
One Deborah Hasin, A Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York reviewed the established data and contrasted them between teenagers in the range of 13-18 from 1991 to 2014, after his findings he commented-
“Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalizes medical marijuana. Rather, up to now, in the states that passed medical marijuana laws, adolescent marijuana use was already higher than in other states. Because early adolescent use of marijuana can lead to many long term harmful outcomes, identifying the factors that actually play a role in adolescent use should be a high priority.”
Another recent study which was taken in action by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment found that the usage of marijuana in high school had decreased from 22% in 2011 to 20% in 2013. This report was release prior to the legalization of Marijuana, and it can clearly be seen that even before the legalization of Marijuana, there was a significant drop in the usage of Marijuana amongst teenagers.
So the study really stands as concrete evidence which goes against the claim that the legalization might evidently affect the consumption of marijuana amongst kids. But even still, Dr Lary Wolk, The director of CDPHE said “As with tobacco, youth prevention campaigns will help ensure adult legalization of Marijuana in Colorado does not impact the health of Colorado kids”
Even in California where Medicinal Marijuana has been deemed as legal for a few years now, and that too in a very unorganized environment, The usage of Marijuana amongst teenagers has largely remained at a low level even prior to when the Legalization was made, this estimation was done following the results obtained through the 13th Biennial California Student Survey.
A very contradictory result was also obtained by Dr. Mark Anderson, Ben Hanson and Daniel Reese who failed to find any significant increase in teenage pot users during the year 2012, when they wrote the book “Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use”. Instead what they did discover was the fact that the number of pot taking teenagers actually increase in states where Marijuana was not yet made legal!
The whole idea that Legalization of Marijuana might increase the usage of the so called street pot amongst teenagers is eventually becoming an absurd notion, as people are often disregarding the various other factors which are in play here.
Linked to this subject matter and the study by Dr. Mark Anderson., Dr. Hasin and Dr. Kevin from the McLean Hospital’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division argued that
“The growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase adolescent use and future decisions that states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be at least partly guidance by this evidence. The framework of using a scientific method to challenge what might be ideological beliefs must remain an important driver of future research on marijuana policy.”