According to new study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, legal recreational marijuana use in some states may have slightly resulted in a reduction of teenage use of the drug.
Lead author of the study, Mark Anderson, a health economist at Montana State University, believes that this may be because it is harder and costlier for teenagers to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries compared to dealers.
National youth health and behavior surveys from 1993 through 2017 were studied, which included questions about marijuana use. Responses from 1.4 million high school students were included.
The results “should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up. This is an important piece when weighing the costs and benefits of legalization,” Anderson said.
Linda Richter, director of policy research and analysis at the nonprofit Center on Addiction, speculated that “it sort of defies logic to argue that more liberal recreational marijuana laws somehow help to dissuade young people from using the drug,” Richter said.
“There is plenty of research showing that the black market for marijuana is alive and well in states that have legalized recreational use,” Richter also said.