Legal Weed Reduces Teen Smoking
Press Release: Legal Weed Reduces Teen Smoking
Legal Weed Referendum Campaigner David Tank has welcomed news from the United States that the latest study concerning teenage drug use shows that marijuana legalisation does not lead to increased underage cannabis consumption.
" The findings add to a growing body of research showing that making weed legal is not associated with increased teen marijuana use. In fact the research shows a decline in use by teenagers who smoke weed," he says.
Mr Tank is the author of a petition to Parliament seeking to make the Marijuana Legalisation Referendum a binding one.
"This is another in an ever growing number of studies done since the liberalisation of weed laws got serious that shows the pro legalisation lobby has been right all along," says Mr Tank.
"This is more evidence," he says, "that the sooner we make weed legal for adults and allow them to grow their own or to buy marijuana in regulated stores that check the ages of their customers the sooner we can bring down the number of young folk using cannabis at the time in their lives they are most vulnerable."
Researchers from the University of Colorado, New York University, Johns Hopkins University and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment teamed up to compare data from youth drug use surveys from autumn 2013, which was just prior to the start of legal marijuana sales in Colorado, and autumn 2015.
Marijuana possession and home cultivation became legal in Colorado shortly after voters approved a legalization ballot measure in late 2012, prior to the first dataset in the study. Legal retail sales began on January 1, 2014.
“Overall, we did not find a significant change in the prevalence of adolescent marijuana use from shortly before to after the implementation of a recreational marijuana law in Colorado.” The report states.
The findings bolster the position of legalisation advocates, who have long argued that ending prohibition for adults and allowing them to buy marijuana in regulated stores that check the ages of their customers will not cause more young people to use cannabis.
“We did not find a significant effect associated with the introduction of legal sales of recreational marijuana to adults in Colorado on adolescent (illegal) use.”
The study authors hypothesized that the decline in frequent cannabis use and use on school property is related to societal changes ushered in as part of legalisation:
“It is not clear what accounts for this finding, but we suspect it may be related to the public discourse around marijuana policy leading up to and following the passage and enactment of…Colorado’s [legalization law] in 2012.
Media coverage, school-based prevention programs, and public health and advocacy campaigns focused strongly on the potential negative impacts on youth during this time, and there was widespread agreement that the legal market should be inaccessible to adolescents… Therefore, it is possible that those adolescents who use marijuana had more received more attention from friends, parents, or school personnel and may have opted to use off-school grounds or less frequently.
This interpretation may be further supported by the finding of an increase in perceived wrongness reported among current marijuana users.”
A federal survey released late last year, for example, showed that rates of marijuana use among 8th, 10th and 12th graders is lower now that it was prior when to states began enacting legalisation in 2012.
And yet another study looked at state-by-state youth use rates and found that state medical cannabis laws did not lead to increases.
"NZ's prohibition of Marijuana has done nothing but to ruin the careers and opportunities of many of our own people, squandered billions of our tax dollars and fed the weakest among us to criminal parasites," Mr Tank says.
"The sooner we bring this thing to a binding vote the better it will be for all of us."