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Study Reveals Marijuana Legalization Doesn't Lead To Higher Usage Among Youth

A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that the marijuana intake among youth has not increased significantly in the wake of many states legalizing marijuana for medical as well as recreational purposes. The study found that the various policy changes across the length and breadth of the country had zero impact on marijuana consumption among the youth.

According to the study, with certain regulations coming into cannabis consumption and distribution, there has been lower marijuana consumption among adolescents. This is considered a positive sign as many were fearing that once the marijuana rules are relaxed, it would lead to higher consumption among the young people.

As per the study, the cannabis consumption among youngsters has been found to be on the decline in state where recreational legalization had been undertaken more than two years ago.

Commenting on the findings, Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said, "This study provides additional evidence that legalizing and regulating cannabis does not result in increased rates of use among teens. In fact, it suggests that cannabis legalization laws might be decreasing teen use."

Researchers said that as more post-legalization data was available on usage of drugs and the type of people using them, it became more and more clear that adolescent usage was on the decline in states legalizing marijuana use.

The research does not offer any answers as to why youth are not using marijuana more in states, where it has been legalized. These trends do come as a surprise for marijuana supporters who say that controlled sales in a regulated environment would bring down illegal sales as well reduce youth access to the drugs.

"Consistent with estimates from prior studies, there was little evidence that RMLs or MMLs encourage youth marijuana use," the researchers said. "As more post-legalization data become available, researchers will be able to draw firmer conclusions about the relationship between RMLs and adolescent marijuana use, they added.

The study went through federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from the years 1993-2019 in 10 medical or adult-use states. The study works upon existing research on the impact of changed marijuana rules on youth consumption, which also came to the same conclusion.

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