Teenagers Less Likely to Use Recreational Cannabis in States Where It’s Legal, Studies Finds

July 15, 2019

By Sarah Young | Independent

Teenagers are less likely to use cannabis in US states where the drug has been legalized, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, analyzed annual national Youth Risk Behaviour Surveys from 1993 through to 2017.

The reports included questions about marijuana use and listed responses from 1.4m high school students. During that time period, 27 states legalized medical marijuana while seven states legalized cannabis for recreational purposes

Today, some 33 states have legalized medical cannabis, while 10 states have also legalized recreational use.

The drug remains illegal in all states for people under the age of 18.

After examining the reports, the researchers found that there was an eight percent drop in the number of teenagers who said they used the drug at least once in the last 30 days.

Meanwhile, the number of youths who had used cannabis at least 10 times in the last 30 days saw a nine percent drop.

While the findings suggest that legalizing recreational marijuana is not tied to an increase in drug use, lead author of the study Mark Anderson has suggested that the drop could be because it is usually harder for teens to buy from licensed dispensaries where proof of age is required.

Anderson added that he hopes the study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, will “help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up” in places where recreational marijuana is legalized.

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