A study released this week that covered nearly a quarter of a century and more than 1 million teenagers found that medical marijuana legalization does not boost cannabis use among young adults, a finding that could increase support for the MMJ industry and legalization efforts.
Researchers found that teen use is generally higher in MMJ states, but the same was true before those states passed medical cannabis laws. The rates in those states did not increase after the laws passed, the study found.
The study didn’t touch on recreational laws and what affect those have had on teen use in Colorado and Washington State. But the results will almost certainly be utilized by medical cannabis legalization campaigns in the future, especially in places like Florida, where medical cannabis is expected to be on the statewide ballot again in 2016.
The findings – published in The Lancet Psychiatry – could also be used by lawmakers around the country to counter anti-legalization advocates who try to argue that repealing cannabis prohibition will cause more teens to use and become addicted to marijuana.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse helped fund the study, according to The New York Times, giving it some solid credibility.
The same group of researchers next plan on tackling recreational cannabis with the same question on teen use, the Times reported. One report from August 2014 suggested that teen use dropped with the reform of marijuana laws in Colorado, but another from early this year highlights a number of negative statistics.