Seattle, WA: Adolescents who reside in states where retail sales of cannabis are legal for adults are no more likely to consume cannabis than are young people in states where it isn’t, according to data published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A team of investigators affiliated with the University of Washington and with Colorado State University evaluated longitudinal data from three US states. In two of the states (Oregon and Washington), legal sales were permitted, while in the other state they were not.
Researchers reported: “Change in legalization status across adolescence was not significantly related to within-person change in the probability or frequency of self-reported past-year cannabis use. At the between-person level, youth who spent more of their adolescence under legalization were no more or less likely to have used cannabis at age 15 years than adolescents who spent little or no time under legalization.”
They concluded, “[Our] findings are not consistent with changes in the prevalence or frequency of adolescent cannabis use after legalization. … Taken together with previous studies, these findings add weight to the conclusion that adolescent cannabis use is holding steady in the wake of legalization.”
The study’s conclusions are consistent with those of numerous others, finding that adult-use regulations are not associated with either increased marijuana use or access among young people, or with any changes in young people’s perceptions toward the substance.
Full text of the study, “Effects of cannabis legalization on adolescent cannabis use across 3 states,” appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”