States with Adult-Use Pot Saw Decrease in Alcohol Use, No Increase in Teen Substance Abuse

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Legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis, as well as an increase in retail sales in Canada and the U.S. did not lead to an overall increase in teen substance abuse, a team of researchers found. They also found that adult-use legislation led to a “modest decrease” in teen alcohol and e-cigarette use.

The research was led by co-principal investigators Lynch School of Education and Human Development professor Rebekah Levine Coley, School of Social Work Professor Summer Sherburne Hawkins, and Economics Department Chair Christopher F. Baum. They believe they are among the first to evaluate associations between adult-use cannabis legislation and recreational cannabis retail sales through 2021, and teen substance abuse. Naoka Carey, a doctoral candidate in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology department of the Lynch School, as well as Claudia Kruzik, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maryland-College Park, also contributed to the study.

The cross-sectional study is entitled “Recreational Cannabis Legalization, Retail Sales, and Adolescent Substance Use Through 2021,” and was published online and in JAMA Pediatrics on April 15. Researchers used survey datasets to evaluate adult-use cannabis legalization and retail sales policies, as well as adolescent substance use through 2021.

Adult-use cannabis legalization was associated with modest decreases in cannabis, alcohol, and e-cigarette use, while retail sales were associated with lower e-cigarette use, and a lower likelihood, but also increased frequency of cannabis use among youth consumers, essentially canceling out and leading to “no overall change in cannabis use.”

They found no evidence suggesting otherwise, as the dust settles from 24 states and Washington, D.C. enacting adult-use cannabis legislation, and 18 states implementing adult-use cannabis sales.

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Author: Benjamin M. Adams / High Times

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