WASHINGTON, DC – Contrary to what marijuana opponents believe, a survey ran by the state found out that the legalization of cannabis does not affect any adolescent’s susceptibility of using the drug.
The survey was conducted among 37,000 young students from middle school to high school. It was the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey who did the research in 2016 so they can assess the marijuana usage within teenagers from 2012. This was done to address the arguments brought about by marijuana opponents stating that the legalization of cannabis use can intensify the number of teens using it.
During the study, the group asked several students from different levels if they have used marijuana within the 30-day period. By doing this, they could identify the student’s monthly use and compare it with the previous data they have gathered.
With the numbers they have gathered, it is safe to say that the legalization of marijuana in 2012 and the opening of dispensaries selling pot in 2014 have no effect on the usage rate of cannabis in teenagers within Washington.
The survey result showed that from 2012 to 2016, the number of 6th graders using marijuana remained the same. While with 8th, 10th and 12th graders the usage was declining using the same timeline.
The main arguments of marijuana opponents about the legalization of pot in areas like Colorado and Washington is that the number of adolescents using it could surge. According to Attorney General Jess Sessions, he does not think that America will become a better place when marijuana is made available to everyone regardless of their age.
Another concern of these marijuana opponents is that individuals who start using the drug at a younger age have higher chances of becoming addicted to it in the long run. Heavy usage of Marijuana for a prolonged period was said to result in various negative effects on school performance as well as mental health.
With the help of the survey, the apprehension by various Marijuana opponents in Colorado and Washington was addressed since the data confirms that the legalization did not affect the number of teen users. The Colorado results also revealed that marijuana legalization did not cause any spikes with its use in teenagers. It was also stated that in 2014 and 2015 there was a decrease in the number.
Regardless of survey results in Washington, Julia Dilley, a principal investigator for Washington and Oregon, stated that to get a more accurate result we should not rely on information derived from a national data set. Instead, a separate survey by the state should be done where tens of thousands of students can participate using a design that can represent the entire country. According to Dilley, this method is more accurate.
With the survey results from Colorado and Washington, the policymakers both in Massachusetts and California now have support in their intention to start their recreational programs.
Because of the survey results, even people who were once doubtful about the merits of marijuana legalization are now becoming less hesitant and more open to the different possibilities.