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Legalizing Medical Marijuana Does Not Cause More Teens To Smoke Pot

By on July 18, 2013
A legal system for medical marijuana puts business owners in charge of regulating supply instead of criminals.

A legal system for medical marijuana puts business owners in charge of regulating supply instead of drug dealers – who never ask for I.D. – Of course, someone who doesn’t want medical marijuana to be legal is likely to tell you otherwise. They might argue that legalization makes marijuana more available, more socially acceptable and perhaps even cheaper – all of which would cause even more teenagers to use it.

That’s probably what a group of researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute for Child Health Policy also thought when they decided to study the effects of medical marijuana laws on teenage use. But after analyzing data collected from 2003 to 2011, they found no evidence to support this claim.

The study, published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health, concluded that “medical marijuana laws do not appear to have significantly increased the prevalence or frequency of adolescent marijuana use.” Sarah Landsman, Ph.D, lead author of the study, explained her findings to Marijuana Policy Project:

“This is the exact opposite of what we would have expected if the medical marijuana laws were increasing teen recreational marijuana use.”

But maybe it’s time we started expecting the unexpected – at least when it comes to pot. In fact, Dr. Landsman and her team noted that previous studies had come to the exact same conclusion:

“Early research on the potential impact of medical marijuana law passage on marijuana use [in adolescents] did not reveal any effect.”

Dr. Landsman

Dr. Landsman

And it’s not that hard to explain why. According to the authors of the new study, labelling marijuana as a medicine could “reduce the perception of marijuana as a recreational drug, thus resulting in reduced nonmedical marijuana use among adolescents.”

Not to mention, an illegal market for marijuana allows anyone of any age to access the substance. A regulated market does not.

Unfortunately, even with their own findings showing that legalization has no effect on teen use, the authors concluded with a warning that “with more lenient legislation potentially conveying considerable risks of deleterious public health outcomes… the effects of marijuana policies on public health are deserving of continued close attention by public health scientists and practitioners.”

This intimidating message, on the other hand, is a lot harder to explain.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (Clinical and Translational Science Institute award) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research Program.

  • tloco11

    pray your kids smoke weed,, cause you dont want to see what pain pills,, meth,, and heroin does to a person and there families !!!

    • disqus_eoETiROUTo

      or synthetic marijuana

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