Teen pot-smoking drops in Washington state after legalization

Teen pot-smoking drops in washington state after legalization
(HealthDay)—Contrary to predictions, teen marijuana use declined in Washington state after recreational pot was legalized in 2012, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from the Washington Healthy Youth Surveys of 2010-2012 and 2014-2016.

They found that among eighth-graders fell from almost 10 percent to just over 7 percent. In 10th grade, pot use declined from nearly 20 percent to less than 18 percent. There was no change among 12th graders, the study found.

But while the findings are encouraging, there is not enough evidence to determine the long-term effects of legalization on youth use, said the researchers at the RAND Corporation and other organizations.

"These findings do not provide a final answer about how legalization ultimately may influence youth marijuana usage," said study co-author Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center.

"A variety of factors may influence the behavior of adolescents and those factors are likely to influence behaviors in different ways over time," Pacula said in a corporation news release.

Future research should look at how the availability of marijuana outlets, advertising and exposure to new products influence use, she said.

"Kids don't care about what happens in the state capital, they care about what happens in their own neighborhoods," Pacula said. "Commercialization in local neighborhoods is likely to be more important than changes in the law."

Other areas of future research should look at patterns of use by young people, according to the study authors.

The study was published Dec. 21 as a research letter in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.


Explore further

More teens than ever would try marijuana

More information: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has more on teens and marijuana.
Journal information: JAMA Pediatrics

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Dec 22, 2018
Among other things, what percentage used marijuana in 12th grade?
It could also be asked, if someone is determined to rot their mind with marijuana, why would making it easier to get make it less desirable? It's not necessarily likely it's sneaking around that made it more desired. Perhaps more and more are turning to harder drugs. The younger thy are, though, the more trouble they may have getting money for the harder drugs. They have to split their money between marijuana and something harder. The older teens might find it easier, so they can spend money on both and not have to cut back on marijuana.

Dec 22, 2018
"..if someone is determined to rot their mind with marijuana.."

It depends on how marijuana is used. Certainly using it for recreation and in large amounts may induce some unwanted mental side effects, but when used medicinally it has been shown to have many benefits, and if used to aid in meditation or mindfulness practices then there can also be great benefits, which have been understood for millennia by numerous cultures. The most often abused recreational mind altering substance will likely remain alcohol for some time yet, even though the negative effects on physical and mental health when abused have been known for a long time. Education is the key.

Dec 23, 2018
Or it could simply be that since it's not illegal there anymore it's not as 'cool' as it was to do anymore.

Dec 24, 2018
I would advance the proposition that making it legal for age 21 and over has had an impact on the street-level availabilty of marijuana, and a sharp reduction in black-market distribution, which would make it more difficult to obtain for underage persons.

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