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Teen Marijuana Use Has Not Increased Because of Legalization

Teen Marijuana Use Has Not Increased Because of Legalization
Photo by Gracie Malley

Politics

Teen Marijuana Use Has Not Increased Because of Legalization

Although marijuana’s opposing forces like to speculate over the potential downfall of teen society as a result of full-blown legalization, the results of the latest Monitoring the Future Survey, a collaboration between the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, finds the dope smoking depravity of American youth is actually on the decline.

Inside the report, which reveals high school seniors are consuming around 33 percent less booze and smoking 25 percent fewer cigarettes than they were almost four decades ago, it provides use with an interesting tidbit that could be used to shut down the case commonly brought forth through the throats of prohibitionists, who like to argue that the legalization of marijuana leads to an increase in teenage use.

In reality, the latest data indicates that teen pot smoking has been on a steady downturn for the past five years. Although pot consumption among high school kids has not tapered off quite like it has with alcohol and tobacco, there is no evidence in the numbers to suggest that pot legalizing has prompted more youngsters to get stoned.

“Youth marijuana use is stable, and even falling in some categories, all while a growing number of states enact legalization,” Betty Aldworth, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, told Cannabis Now in an emailed statement. “This new data solidifies early indications that the scare tactics peddled by prohibitionists are false.”

Since before 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington made the decision to end prohibition in their respective states, marijuana use among teens has ridden a relatively level plain. The same appears to be true for this demographics’ use of illegal drugs.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the data is that it indicates record-breaking numbers of high school seniors support marijuana reform. “The proportion of 12th-grade students who favor marijuana use as a crime is at the lowest level ever recorded by the survey,” the report reads.

Although it may be somewhat paradoxical for recording breaking numbers of teens to support legalization without leading to an influx in use, researchers say this phenomenon could be the result of legalization doing what it is supposed to do: prevent kids from easily getting weed on the black market.

What do you think? Does cannabis legalization result in increased use for teens? Let us know in the comments below.

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