Medical Marijuana Legalization Does Not Increase Teen Use
Legalizing medical marijuana has no effect on teen pot use, according to a study published online April 15 in the Journal of Adolescent Health (http://bit.ly/QnPJNq).
The study analyzed data gathered between 1991 and 2011 from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey. Marijuana use was compared between youths in states where medical marijuana was legalized to geographically proximal states where it was not.
In the states that passed legislation legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the study period, there was not a statistically significant change in marijuana use among teens from the time before legalization to the time after. Marijuana use remained consistent in the states that did not legalize pot, too.
While in-state use did not change, teens in the states that legalized medical marijuana were overall slightly more likely to have smoked marijuana in the previous month (25%) compared to their peers in the states that have not legalized it (21%). The researchers theorize that this may be a reflection of overall attitudes about marijuana use in these states.
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