As more states pass laws allowing adult use of cannabis, concerns that legalization would make marijuana more accessible to young people arise.
In 2019, a study conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that teenagers who interact with cannabis brands via social media platforms are five times more likely to consume cannabis than those who don’t.
That Was Then…
A recently released poll from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that there has been a significant drop in cannabis usage among teenagers, aged 12-17, pointed out the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Past-year cannabis use among the young population nationwide declined from 13.2% to 10.1% from 2019-2020, according to recent data gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
However, for those aged 18 to 25, past-year marijuana use percentages remained almost unchanged, dropping only slightly from 35.4% to 34.5% over the same period.
“These findings ought to reassure lawmakers that cannabis access can be legally regulated in a manner that is safe, effective, and that does not inadvertently impact young people’s habits,” NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentanosaid.
Despite anti-legalization and prohibitionists who predicted a spike in youth marijuana consumption, cannabis use among adolescents has been hovering around 13.5% for years.
Moreover, according to the data published in the journal JAMA Open Network in September, there are “no increases …in the odds of past-year or past-month cannabis use post-RCL [recreational cannabis laws] enactment among … individuals aged 12 to 20 years for all races and ethnicities.”
The same cannot be said for cannabis use by adults aged 26 and older, which has been climbing over the past several years, in connection to the country’s trend toward legalizing the plant.
Separate data published in JAMA Pediatrics reported that the establishment of adult-use marijuana laws is associated with decreased rates of marijuana use among young people.