American Medical Association Study Shows Cannabis Legalization Doesn’t Increase Youth Usage

One by one, the “sky is falling” Reefer Madness hysterics are proven wrong, and a study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) extinguishes the claim that legalization cannabis will cause use among minors to skyrocket. To the contrary, the peer-reviewed study in one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world found no correlation between an increase in use by kids and implementing legalization and the data demonstrates that youth usage may have actually decreased in states that ended prohibition. “What about the children?” is often an emotionally-charged tactic used by Reefer Madness prohibitionists who have chosen to put their head in the sand and ignore the data from the Netherlands that reform advocates have been touting for years. Marijuana Moment reported on the landmark JAMA study that swatted away the major fallacy that legalization increases use among kids:

“In fact, it seems that establishing certain regulated cannabis models actually leads to lower marijuana use among adolescents under certain measures—a finding that directly conflicts with anti-legalization arguments that are commonly made by prohibitionists.

“The analysis, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from 1993-2019 in 10 medical or adult-use states. It builds upon existing studies on the impact of cannabis reform on youth consumption that have reached similar conclusions.

“Researchers determined that the adoption of recreational cannabis legalization ‘was not associated with current marijuana use or frequent marijuana use.’”

After examining the data in states that have passed recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) and medical marijuana laws (MMLs), the study found that, “Consistent with estimates from prior studies, there was little evidence that “recreational marijuana laws” RMLs or MMLs encourage youth marijuana use.” Further, the research paper concluded that, “After 2 or more years, RML adoption was associated with a decrease in marijuana use.”

In fairness, the authors of the study do state that legalization is a “relatively new phenomenon” and that over time “researchers will be able to draw firmer conclusions about the relationship between RMLs and adolescent marijuana use,” but the early evidence is great news for the cannabis community. While sensible people don’t want anyone’s lives ruined over cannabis, there is evidence that cannabis can have detrimental impacts to developing brains, so kids do need to be educated about actual science and understand that some things, like cannabis, may be suitable for adults, but not for children. As we continue our fight to end cannabis prohibition and the greater Drug War, evidence like this presented in the Journal of the American Medical Association will help us swat away Reefer Madness propaganda as it gets trotted out time and time again.

Kind Leaf is proud to be helping Oregon lead the way towards sane and sensible cannabis policies that better allocate our state’s limited resources while creating jobs and revenue for important programs that improve and save lives. When you shop at Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique, you are helping a small Oregon business that gives back to the local community and keeps its profits in-state, benefiting Oregonians, instead of multinational corporate shareholders. Please check out our menu online via Leafly to see the best selection in the Great Northwest, amazing weekly deals, and the discounts always available to military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

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