Legalising pot has not spurred use among US teens: study

A rise in marijuana use among U.S. teens over the past 20 years has no significant tie to the legalisation of marijuana for medical use in many states, according to a new research paper.

Comparing surveys of marijuana use by adolescents conducted annually by the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found the probability that a high schooler had used pot in the last 30 days was no more than 0.8 percent higher in legal states compared to states that had not approved medical marijuana.

"Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalisation of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students," D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University, Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado and Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon wrote.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, while two states, Colorado and Washington, now allow recreational use. Alaska and Oregon are set to vote on legalisation for recreational use in November, while supporters of full legalisation in the nation's capital say they have enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Some opponents of legalisation are concerned it will increase use among teens. According to Monitoring the Future, an organisation funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that has surveyed drug use among teens since 1975, 36 percent of high school seniors surveyed in 2013 said they used pot in the last year, while 6.5 percent said they used it almost every day.

Use among twelfth graders peaked in 1979 at 51 percent and fell to a low of 22 percent in 1992. Use slowly increased after 1992, but it has leveled since 2011.

A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology in 2011 found use among adolescents in medical marijuana states had risen, but concluded more research was needed to draw a causal conclusion. Further, it found that between 2002 and 2008, use among teens was highest in states where the drug was legal, but it was also already high in those states prior to legalisation.

Prohibition is faith based.

Increased use, be it experimental use or more regular use, doesn't equate to increased harm, especially where the set and setting is safer, the prejudices reduced and risks associated with prohibition [especially deviancy amplification] are diminished to near zero.

The profligate distortion that use=harm thus increased use=more harm is proffered only by those who claim science is on their side while failing to ask if those harms exist under prohibition how more prohibition would not increase those harms.

Prohibition is faith based. One needs to beleive it is a good idea. And, disturbingly prosylitise it to have any freinds. 

It is time we resolved the tensions.  

Tired old argument

The argument that if you make something legal, more people will do it and therefore it should stay illegal is a very old chestnut. I remember it being used in the 80s when legalising homosexuality was being debated. As we have seen with both issues, people will do it if they want whether it is legal or not. This study shows that there will not be a huge flood of young people lighting up before going to school if the law changes, even though you may remember John Key making exactly that cheap-shot remark a few months ago when questioned on the subject.

Nancy Reagan's lapdog legacy

Its about time that NZ took its head out of its you know where on this issue as well. Stop a now largely defunct US policy adopted here criminalising our population and costing us all a fortune at the same time whist making one for the gangsters. We dont need more prisons - we need people who have sense making the laws to suit our country's unique perspective saving otherwise law-abiding tax paying citzens from the effects of this blinkered prohibition.

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