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Soon after marijuana became legal for adults in Washington State, fewer adolescents in the biggest metropolitan county in the state reported previous-month cannabis consumption, a new federally published study concludes.

“Following 2012 legalization of retail marijuana sale to adults in Washington, previous 30–day marijuana use decreased or remained steady by way of 2016 amongst King County students in grades six, eight, 10, and 12,” the study states. “Among grade 10 students, the decline in use occurred amongst males even though the price amongst females remained steady. Use of alcohol or other substances was 4 occasions as frequent amongst marijuana customers as amongst nonusers.”

The benefits, published Friday in the Centers for Illness Handle and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, help previous research with equivalent findings on youth marijuana use soon after legalization in Washington and other states.

Researchers with Public Health—Seattle &amp King County analyzed information on substance use for 2004–2016 from the Washington State Healthful Youth Survey, which is performed statewide just about every two years to assess overall health danger behaviors amongst public college students in grades six, eight, 10 and 12.

In that time period, the study’s authors located that sixth graders reported a decline in marijuana use inside the previous 30 days, even though the percentage of eighth graders who had consumed cannabis in the previous month did not modify. Among 2004 and 2012, the percentage of higher college sophomores and seniors reporting use elevated, but then declined soon after 2012—the year that voters authorized a marijuana legalization ballot measure.

“Despite legalization of the retail sale of marijuana to adults in Washington in 2012, proof from the biennial Washington State Healthful Youth Survey indicates that the prevalence of previous 30–day marijuana use amongst students in grades 10 and 12 started to decline that year.”

In other words, in spite of opponents’ fears that ending prohibition for adults would pave the way to far more teens accessing and consuming marijuana, these issues are not supported by information.


The prevalence of marijuana use did boost as students got older. “In 2016,” the study’s authors create, “the percentage of students with previous 30–day marijuana use in King County was .six% amongst grade six, four.1% amongst grade eight, 13.9% amongst grade 10, and 25.five% amongst grade 12 students. Amongst grade 10 students, 24.% of previous 30–day marijuana customers also smoked cigarettes, compared with 1.three% of nonusers.” Interestingly, even though 30-day self-reported marijuana use declined amongst male students in the 10th grade, there was no modify for their female counterparts.

The authors also point out that “the prevalence of perception of terrific danger of harm from standard marijuana use decreased across all grades” in the course of the study period.

Researchers also located that students in grade 10 who mentioned they’d consumed cannabis had been far more most likely to report working with other substances in the previous month—including alcohol (67 %), cigarettes (24 %) and e-cigarettes or vape pens (43 %)—as compared to these who did not use marijuana.

“Although the partnership in between legal adult recreational use and youth use is not nicely understood, two achievable motives for the observed decline in youth use involve reduction of illicit industry provide by way of competitors and loss of novelty appeal amongst youths,” the study‘s authors conclude. “Furthermore, it would be crucial to monitor the extended-term part legalization may well play to foster a permissive use atmosphere provided observed powerful associations with use and person and family members components that influence youth use.”

The researchers noted that the “decline or absence of modify in youth marijuana use soon after legalization of retail sales to adults is constant with trends reported in Colorado and Oregon, states that legalized adult retail sales of marijuana in 2013 and 2014, respectively.”

Youth Marijuana Use Declined In States That Legalized, Study Finds

Photo courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon. 

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