Study Shows MMJ Laws Don't Increase Teen Marijuana Use


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State medical marijuana laws do not increase teen use of marijuana, a new analysis of government data shows. Contrary to claims made by opponents of medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota, the report finds that no state with laws protecting medical marijuana patients has experienced a statistically significant increase in teen marijuana use.

In fact, teen use of marijuana has generally declined in medical marijuana states -- in some cases dramatically. Overall teen marijuana use in these states has decreased at greater rates than the national average.

"I think it's time to put to rest the notion that protecting seriously ill Illinoisans who might benefit from medical marijuana would have any negative impact on efforts to keep marijuana away from our kids," said Ray Warren, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "As legislators consider this sensible, compassionate measure, they should be aware that we have the benefit of more than 10 years of experience with state medical marijuana laws. And that experience proves that marijuana is good medicine for a number of conditions and patients, and that we can protect their right to good treatment while protecting our kids from drugs."

"Marijuana Use by Young People: The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws," prepared by researcher Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. of the State University of New York and policy experts at the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., compiles and analyzes government data regarding rates of adolescent marijuana use. In California, for example, where teen marijuana use was increasing prior to adoption of the state's medical marijuana law in 1996, use dropped dramatically from 1996 to 2006 -- by nearly half in some age groups.

The report, available for download at Marijuana Policy Project - Teen Use & Medical Marijuana Laws, finds that marijuana use among teens has decreased across the country. Overall, states with medical marijuana laws had slightly more favorable trends than the national rates. Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Nevada all had slightly greater decreases in teen marijuana use than the national average, and California and Washington experienced significantly greater decreases.

New Mexico recently became the 12th state to establish medical marijuana laws, joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Newshawk: CoZmO -
Source: Marijuana Policy Project
Author: Press Release
Copyright: 2007 Marijuana Policy Project
Website: Marijuana Policy Project - Home
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