Medical Marijuana has NO Effect on Teen Pot Use

It’s a common, albeit tired, argument among those who oppose any freeing up of marijuana—that children will get the wrong message. It’s as if a tightly regulated medical marijuana industry will create pot-head-zombie-kids. It’s really hard to say what is the most unfortunate part of this argument—that many believe it or that it’s untrue.

Another study that dispels the myth was recently released in the American Journal of Public Health. The study found that medical marijuana laws had no “statistically significant” effect on pot use by teens.

Leaf on blackAccording to the researchers with the University of Florida College of Medicine, an analysis on teen marijuana usage in 2003 and 2011 found “no evidence of intermediate-term effects of passage of state MMLs (medical marijuana laws) on the prevalence or frequency of adolescent nonmedical marijuana use in the states evaluated,” according to NORML.

This isn’t the first study to dispel the myth. In 2012, researchers with McGill University in Montreal said “[P]assing MMLs (medical marijuana laws) decreased past-month use among adolescents … and had no discernible effect on the perceived riskiness of monthly use. … [These] estimates suggest that reported adolescent marijuana use may actually decrease following the passing of medical marijuana laws.”

A German study had the same findings, concluding, ““Our results suggest that the legalization of medical marijuana was not accompanied by increases in the use of marijuana or other substances such as alcohol and cocaine among high school students. Interestingly, several of our estimates suggest that marijuana use actually declined with the passage of medical marijuana laws.”

It’s interesting that so many of these positive studies are coming from esteemed researchers outside the United States. It certainly says a lot about things in a nation where federal funding isn’t available for marijuana researchers.

Still, some stateside studies are available. In 2011, Brown University researchers also found no link between medical marijuana and increased teen use, as did Texas A&M in 2007.

So, with all this evidence to the contrary, why do lawmakers and federal officials continue to spread the falsity of medical marijuana laws turning teens into potheads? Because they will do anything to keep the system of marijuana prohibition in place, even perpetuate categorically-false propaganda.

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Renter is a freelance writer and editor who writes about criminal justice issues.

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