Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Have Zero Effect on Teen Pot Use
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/04/2011 in Medical Marijuana News
Even though opponents of medical marijuana claim legalizing cannabis for medical use corrupts the children, medical marijuana actually does not encourage teens to smoke more pot. And a new study, which was presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, proves it.
Dr. Esther Choo, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and emergency medicine physician at Rhode Island Hospital, compared data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey. She studied teen marijuana use in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts prior to and after Rhode Island passed its medical marijuana laws in 2006 – and her conclusion is that there was no increase in teen use in either state. Rhode Island and Massachusetts were chosen because of their similarities and close proximity to one another.
While opponents of medical marijuana claim, often without evidence, that marijuana laws are abused and create more avenues of access to illegal drugs for teens, Choo’s research proves that is simply not the case in states that have passed marijuana laws as well as in nearby states.
“We found no effect of the policy change,” said Choo.
While Choo’s evidence is encouraging to those in support of medical marijuana, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen results like this. In fact, a 2005 Marijuana Policy Project study conducted by Karen O’Keefe, Esq.,Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project, and Mitch Earleywine, associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York–Albany, found that teen use in California actually decreased by 47% when comparing data from before and after California passed its medical marijuana laws. And, contrary to another phobia of marijuana opponents, studies have shown that marijuana is not a gateway drug.
Choo plans on expanding on these findings regarding legalizing medical marijuana and it’s effects on teen use, and studying data from more medical marijuana states—which will only strengthen her research. And we’re pretty sure that no matter what marijuana state’s data she looks at, the medicinal use of marijuana will not have a negative effect on teen drug use whatsoever.