According to a new study published in the journal JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] Pediatrics, marijuana legalization not only doesn’t increase teen usage rates, but it may also actually decrease them.
For the study, researchers examined survey data on substance use collected from 1.4 million adolescents between 1993 and 2017, reports Reuters. During that period, 27 states and Washington, D.C. legalized medical marijuana and seven states legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. The study found that while medical marijuana laws didn’t appear to influence whether teens used marijuana, recreational marijuana laws were actually associated with an 8% decline in the odds that teens would report trying marijuana in the previous 30 days and a 9% decrease in teens reporting frequent use.
Reduced supply may explain why, said lead study author Mark Anderson, an associate professor in agricultural economics at Montana State University in Bozeman.
“It may actually be more difficult for teens to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age,” Anderson said by email. “Selling to minors becomes a relatively more risky proposition after the passage of these laws.”
It’s possible legalizing marijuana leads more parents to talk to