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Does the Legalization of Marijuana Increase Marijuana Use Among Teens?

In a word, no. The University of Michigan conducts an annual survey regarding drug use among teenagers. The special interests against marijuana legalization, i.e. pharmaceutical companies that want people using their processed drugs rather than the naturally growing marijuana plant, along with the politicians to whom those special interests pay a lot of money, would have us believe that if we legalize marijuana, teenagers and everyone else will be smoking marijuana for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, this survey (and other studies) show us that is not the case. The survey indicated that there was no significant increase in marijuana use in the states where it is now legal. In fact, after rising for several years, marijuana use has remained fairly steady since 2010, according to the annual surveys.

As most people know, marijuana is now legal in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington and Washington, DC. Marijuana use among teenagers stabilized before marijuana legalization and has remained stable since. Interestingly, the percentage of people who view marijuana as a serious health risk has declined dramatically. While it is good to see a rational view of marijuana, it still has not increased the number of users.

One other predictable and favorable consequence of marijuana legalization: teen use of actually harmful substances like alcohol, cigarettes, ecstasy and synthetic marijuana is down.

If these numbers hold, one more argument against marijuana will hopefully disappear. Politicians who are puppets of the pharmaceutical and private prison industries will not be able to scare people into thinking all of their kids will become chronic marijuana users the day legalization takes effect, if people are interested in reality. However, the arguments against keeping marijuana illegal, such as the waste of money and resources and the harm to the community involved in making convicted criminals out of marijuana users, will remain.

A link to the University of Michigan survey can be found here: http://monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/15drugpr_complete.pdf