As more and more states push for recreational marijuana legalization, less of America’s youth is toking up in those that have already passed the law, according to a new study.
It seems that legalizing marijuana doesn’t encourage teens to smoke pot, as a report published in JAMA Pediatrics found that teens are less likely toke up if recreational marijuana has been legalized in their state.
“There is simply no evidence that legalization for medical or recreational purposes leads to an increase in teen use,” lead researcher Mark Anderson said, according to UPI. “Opponents of these laws generally state this as a primary concern, but there is just no evidence that teen consumption goes up.”
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Eleven states in the US have legalized recreational marijuana use already with Illinois set to become the next in 2020. Laws have passed for medical marijuana in 34 states.
The study analyzed more than one million high school students from 1993 to 2017 using data compiled from annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, a national study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data was compared about reported marijuana use by participants before and after legalization laws were adopted in 27 states.
Researchers found medical marijuana laws didn’t influence teens’ smoking habits, but recreational marijuana laws resulted in nearly a tenth (8%) decreases in the possibility of drug use. There was also a 9% decrease in the likelihood of teens using it 10 or more times.
“Just to be clear we found no effect on teen use following legalization for medical purposes, but evidence of a possible reduction in use following legalization for recreational purposes,” Anderson said. “Because our study is based on more policy variation than prior work, we view our estimates as the most credible to date in the literature.”