health

Legalizing pot tied to less teen marijuana use

4 Comments

Marijuana legalization laws don’t appear to increase teen pot use and instead may have the opposite effect, a U.S. study suggests.

To see how teen marijuana use compares in states with and without such laws, researchers examined survey data on substance use collected from 1.4 million adolescents between 1993 and 2017. During that period, 27 states and Washington, D.C. legalized medical marijuana and seven states legalized cannabis for recreational purposes.

Medical marijuana laws didn’t appear to influence whether teens used marijuana, the study authors reported in JAMA Pediatrics.

Recreational marijuana laws, however, were associated with an 8% decline in the odds that teens would report trying cannabis 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. “Selling to minors becomes a relatively more risky proposition after the passage of these laws.”

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how legalizing marijuana might directly alter teen use. State laws legalizing recreational marijuana generally focus on adult use and don’t permit sales to minors.

Other studies have linked marijuana to a range of behavioral and emotional problems in teens. Some previous research also suggests that effects of marijuana use may be more pronounced in teens because adolescence is a period of rapid brain development.

It’s possible legalizing marijuana leads more parents to talk to kids about the risks of drug use, said Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor of developmental and educational psychology at Boston College who wasn’t involved in the study.

These laws may lead to “increased parental supervision or discussions between parents and adolescents regarding the dangers of marijuana use in reaction to legalization and the resultant increases in political and news attention and perceived availability,” Coley said by email.

For these conversations to have the intended effect, parents need to listen, not just lecture, said Dr Ellen Rome, head of the Center for Adolescent Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Children’s in Ohio.

“Have frank discussions with your teen, where you ask first what they believe about teens and marijuana use before and after legalization,” Rome, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Then share your own beliefs, and encourage dialogue - and ask what they believe will help prevent youth from using illegally.”

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

4 Comments
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Makes sense to me. If the adults are doing it, why would a teen want to be at the same level as an adult.

It is a great way to get kids not to wear earrings or hats in school...make the teachers wear them and all teh kids will stop.

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Bingo !

But But but the mafia (government) won't make any more money out of the war on drugs etc

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The more the legitimacy the less the the hiding.

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@shonanbb

If the adults are doing it, why would a teen want to be at the same level as an adult.

Then why do teens drink alcohol?

I understand your argument, it's just that teens usually try to act older than they really are.

@ozziedesigner

But But but the mafia (government) won't make any more money out of the war on drugs etc

How does the war on drugs make money for the gov't? In fact the opposite has been argued: legalizing drugs will make money for the gov't in the form of taxes.

@talaraedokko

The more the legitimacy the less the the hiding.

Yeah, but it's still illegal for teens. Their situation doesn't change.

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