Studies Show Legalizing Cannabis Leads To Lower Youth Consumption

Studies Show Legalizing Cannabis Leads To Lower Youth Consumption

A federal survey was taken that shows that marijuana consumption in the 12-17 age group has decreased almost 25%. The survey showed that in 2019, less than four million 12-17-year-olds across 50 states have tried cannabis at some point in their life, in comparison to over three million in 2020. The survey, called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), is conducted every year by a group of the US Department of Health and Human Services called the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health collects and analyzes data on things like illicit drugs, prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and the misuse of prescription drugs. It also looks over mental health data connected with substance use and abuse, such as substance use disorders, mental health care, and mental illness. Data is taken via an independent, multistage area probability sample within each state and arranged according to various criteria at the state level.

They mean, that the figures published are estimates based on the answers given by the participants. The census is generally conducted with a specially trained interviewer in a face-to-face interview, although the survey was conducted online due to Covid restrictions for 2020. Due to a change in approach in 2020, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration advised using caution when comparing data from previous surveys.

The nationwide poll includes adolescents living in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use. This stipulation is relevant to proponents of marijuana as opposers of the relaxation of marijuana restrictions often cite an increase in youth consumption as justification for their opposition to legalization. The deputy director of NORML, Paul Armentano, said, “Changes in states’ marijuana policies have not led to any significant rise in cannabis use among young people.” 

He continued, “Overal, adult-use laws are working the way voters and politicians intended; licensed retailers check IDs and rarely are adult-use products diverted to the illicit marketplace.” Armentano concluded, “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.”

A few other findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health include:

  • 50 million people over the age of 12 in 2020 are estimated to have consumed marijuana, which is 18% of the population.
  • 16.3% of the age group 26 and over reported marijuana use in the past year.
  • The age group that surveyed the highest consumption of marijuana was 18-25-year-olds, with 34.5% answering that they had used marijuana in the past year.
  • The age group 12-17 year-olds fell 10% in the past year.
  • In their lifetimes, the report shows that 50% of Americans have tried some sort of illicit drug.
  • 46% have tried marijuana in their lifetime.
  • 15% have tried cocaine at one point in their lifetime.
  • 16% have tried some sort of hallucinogen.

The census displays other recent analyses showing teenage cannabis consumption does not increase after states implement legalization for medical and recreational use. Studies show that allowing those of age to use some rolling papers and medicate legally won’t negatively affect the youth helps push cannabis reform further.

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