Youth Usage Rates
Opponents of cannabis legalization continue to voice concern that legalization leads to increased youth access and usage rates. However, this has not occurred in legal jurisdictions. According to data from the Washington State Department of Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, youth usage rates have stayed flat or slightly decreased. Data from Oregon and Alaska show the same thing.
In a 2014 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Lancet Psychiatry, the authors analyzed youth cannabis usage rates over the previous 24-year period and found “no evidence for an increase of adolescent marijuana use after passage of state laws permitting use of marijuana for medical purposes.” The authors concluded, “concerns that increased adolescent marijuana use is an unintended effect of state medical marijuana laws seem unfounded.” (Hasin, Deborah S. et al. “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys.” The Lancet Psychiatry 2.7 (2015): 601-08)