Medical marijuana laws increase use among juveniles, study says
Juvenile use of marijuana is increasing substantially as more medical marijuana laws pass nationwide.
In a recent study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Florida International University researchers examined data on juveniles between the ages of 12 and 17 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a representative survey of the U.S. population conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Their nationwide study found that the percent of juveniles reporting recreational marijuana use increased substantially following the passage of a medical marijuana law, accounting for other potentially salient causal factors.
"Well-meaning social policy often has unintended and detrimental effects for society," said Criminal Justice Professor Lisa Stolzenberg and lead author of the study.
After ruling out a change in marijuana availability as a causal factor, Stolzenberg said the most likely explanation for the increase in use is that medical marijuana laws diminish the social stigma frequently associated with the recreational use of marijuana.