The legalization of medical cannabis is not associated with an increase in youth marijuana usage rates, and may actually decrease usage among adolescents. This is according to a new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
The study’s objective was to “assess the association between U.S. state medical marijuana laws (MML), the most liberal category of marijuana policies before legalization, their specific provisions, and adolescent past-30-day use and heavy marijuana use.”
The quasi-experimental study used state Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data collected during 1991-2011 from 45 states to examine the effects of MML on youth usage of cannabis.
According to researchers the “analyses adjusting for state/year effects found a 7% lower odds of use and no difference in heavy use.”
The study concludes that “MML enactment, years since enactment, and inclusion of more liberalized provisions were not associated with increased adolescent marijuana use in this dataset after adjusting for state and year effects”.