WASHINGTON, DC – A Survey shows that even after marijuana was legalized back in 2012, the usage rate remains the same for grades 8th, 10th and 12th.
The study was conducted in 2016 by the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey to determine if there is an increase in the number of teens using marijuana after it was legalized for recreational use. There were about 230,000 teens who participated in the study.
It was in 2012 when voters from Washington decided to legalize recreational marijuana usage and after two years, various shops started to open. However, despite its availability, teens using marijuana was reported to remain the same 30 days after the stores were opened.
According to the data gathered by researchers, there were 6% of 8th graders, 17% of 10th graders and 26% of 12 graders who were using marijuana before it was made accessible in stores and the percentage remained the same.
Aside from this survey, there were already several studies conducted by different groups to help determine if there is an increase in the number of teens using marijuana after legalization. The results gathered in Oregon and Colorado is just the same with that of Washington. Their findings confirm that the legalization of marijuana does not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of teens using it.
Some people may think that this could be attributed to the store’s strict policy in selling marijuana to adolescents. However, when these teens using marijuana are asked about the accessibility of pot, most of them would say that it’s as accessible as before. Some, mainly 10th graders, are claiming that it’s even easier to purchase at this time.
Lawmakers, particularly those who are against the legalization of cannabis are mainly concerned about the possible increase in the number of teens using marijuana. They are focused on this issue because a lot of researchers claim that individuals who regularly use marijuana during their teenage years tend to experience more adverse effects.
These negative results include cognitive effects and even dependency to marijuana. Just like with alcohol and any other substances, marijuana use can also have an effect on the developing brain.
Krista Lisdahl, the chief of Brain Imaging and Neuropsychology Lab and assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, said that even with the findings, people must still be cautious. She mentioned this during her recent interview, and she was referring to the survey conducted by Washington State Healthy Youth.
According to her, the states where the study was conducted, Colorado and Washington, already have high marijuana usage rates among teens, hence, you can’t see the difference. When you compare the number of teens using marijuana in these two states with the others, you can immediately see a huge difference.
Colorado and Washington have the highest rates of adolescents using marijuana. Lisdahl suggests that these surveys should be conducted in other states that have low marijuana usage such as Iowa, Alabama, Texas and Ohio so a comparison can be made.