Are U.S. kids who live in states with legal medical marijuana more likely to smoke pot?
The answer appears to be no, a new study suggests. However, the study did find that people over 25 were smoking more marijuana after the laws took effect.
“There were only increases in marijuana use and in the perceived availability of marijuana use after the enactment of these laws among adults aged 26 and up,” said study lead author Dr. Silvia Martins.
“The laws seem to be working as expected with little unintended consequences for youth and young adults to date,” added Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
“There were fears that once medical marijuana laws were enacted and marijuana became more easily available, it would be diverted to recreational use by youth as well as adults,” Martins said. Researchers, physicians and laypeople expressed this fear, she noted.
The study authors reviewed the results of annual national surveys done between 2004 and 2013. The surveys included more than 53,800 people over the age of 12.
The researchers wanted to understand how marijuana use changed in the 10 states that passed laws allowing the medical use of marijuana from 2005-2013. The states included: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island, the study authors said.
Marijuana use didn’t change among people younger than 26 after the laws were passed, the study found.
By Randy Dotinga