Since Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana at the polls two years ago, fewer teens in the state are trying pot, according to a study published recently by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.
According to the study [PDF], 28.7 percent of students surveyed admitted to using marijuana at least once, reports Stephen C. Webster at The Raw Story. That figure represents a drop from 29.9 percent in 2010. Medical marijuana legalization took effect in Arizona in 2011.
While about one in nine students who admitted using cannabis claimed they got it from a medical marijuana patient or caregiver who received it legally, the vast majority said they got it from friends, at parties or at school. The only category students cited less often than medical marijuana cardholders was “home,” but teens also cited “home” as the second most common place they got dangerous prescription drugs for illicit use.
Predictable initial media reports tried to put a sensationalist and inaccurate spin on the study, claiming it revealed widespread abuse of the state’s medical marijuana program. But the findings actually seem to substantiate studies in other states indicating that medical marijuana legalization doesn’t increase teen cannabis use.
The legal availability of medical marijuana has no statistically significant impact on teen cannabis use, according to a study published in June by professors from Montana State University, the University of Oregon and the University of Colorado Denver. That study looked at data from 13 states over a 16-year period.
The study, interestingly enough, also indicates that medical marijuana legalization tends to correlate with drops in cocaine use.