Teenage cannabis use drops in US states that legalised recreational

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Teenagers are less likely to use cannabis in places where the drug has been legalised, according to a study from Montana State University.

Looking at health surveys of US high school pupils between 1993 and 2017, researchers found that while overall use of the drug among young people in the US where cannabis use has been legalised had gone up, teen use declined by nearly 10%.

Recreational cannabis is legal in 10 US states but only for over-18s. 33 states have also legalised medical cannabis.

Lead author of the study Mark Anderson told the Associated Press that the study, published in the medical journal Jama Paediatrics, “should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up”. A previous study in December made the same conclusion.

His team analysed data on about 1.4 million teenagers in the US, taken from the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveys, an annual national survey carried out by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report said the decline in teenage use could partly be explained because “it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age”.

The change in teenage use was only found to have taken place in the states where it was legal recreationally, not medically.

Like US dispensaries, the UKCSC uses and advocates an age ID system. Support our campaign to legalise the right to grow your own here.

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