Neither the enactment of laws legalizing medical cannabis nor the establishment of pharmacies has been linked to an increase in marijuana use among young people, according to data published in Substance Abuse magazine.
A team of investigators from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, as well as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, studied cannabis use trends in more than one million teenagers (grades 9 to 12) over a period of nearly 25 years.
Consistent with previous studies, the authors concluded: “This study found no evidence between 1991 and 2015 of an increase in adolescents reporting marijuana use after 30 days or heavy marijuana use associated with government MML [medical marijuana law] Entry into force or operational MML pharmacies. “
The authors added, “Our main finding was that adolescents living in states with MML were significantly less likely to use marijuana in the past 30 days (“ currently ”) than adolescents living in non-MML states live (6 percent). In stratified layer analyzes, the ninth graders had 9 percent fewer chances, while there were no differences for other grades. “
Paul Armentano, NORML’s Associate Director, commented on the study’s findings: “This data, collected over more than two decades from 46 states, clearly shows that access to medical cannabis is safe, effective and unsafe by law regulated can inadvertently affect young people’s habits. These findings should reassure politicians and others that the real world experiences of states with medicinal cannabis are a success from both a public health and a public safety perspective. “
The study abstract, “Medical Marijuana Laws (MMLs) and Regulations for Dispensing Drugs Not Associated with Increased Chances of Using Juvenile or Heavy Marijuana: A 46-State Analysis, 1991-2015” appears online. Further information can be found in the NORML factsheet “Marihuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates”.