Saturday, September 9, 2017
If recent statistics are any indication, looser restrictions on recreational marijuana might not increase usage by adolescents. According to a Washington Post piece by Christopher Ingraham:
Last year, 6.5 percent of adolescents used marijuana on a monthly basis, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The last time monthly teen marijuana use was this low was 1994, according to federal survey data.
With the advent of many states allowing medical marijuana and decriminalizing recreational use, many will find these numbers to be surprising. But Ingraham notes that there was:
. . . a statistically significant drop from 2014, when the nation's first recreational marijuana shops opened in Washington state and Colorado...Adult marijuana use, on the other hand, is rising. Last year 20.8 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 used marijuana at least monthly, the highest number since 1985. Among adults ages 26 to 34, 14.5 percent used marijuana monthly in 2016, also the most since 1985.
This is obviously good news for legalization proponents and more studies will be needed. But given the public concern in protecting minors and avoiding the stagnation of adolescent brain development, the results may show that legalization itself may not lead to greater consumption.