Yet another study shows teen cannabis use doesn’t increase with legalization

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Opponents of cannabis legalization who argue that teen use will rise lose their platform

No matter how many more jurisdictions add to the long list of states where marijuana is legal, another new study makes it clear that marijuana use is not increasing in the teenage community. According to the federal survey released a few days ago, marijuana use among young people declined over the past year, even as legalization is at its peak and people were stressed by the highs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest data set from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) comes to establish itself as another clear example that defies the thoughts and criticisms of the anti-legalization crowd. Many anti-reform people have long claimed that the teenage population may be driven to increased marijuana use if legalization continues at this pace. Yet, there have been dozens of consistent studies, surveys and research indicating that the opposite is the case.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey, cannabis use last year for 12- to 17-year-olds dropped from 13.2% to around 10% between 2019 and 2020. It even also dropped by one percentage point (from 35.4% to 34.5%) among people whose ages range from 18 to 25 in that same period.

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in an interview that the new federal data is a clear indication again that the “changes in state marijuana policies have not led to a significant increase in cannabis use among young people.” In fact, this is the latest in a long line of evidence showing that legalization really has no influence whatsoever on youth use despite the strong arguments that prohibitionists have made in recent years.