07 Sep Study Finds Little Evidence Recreational Marijuana Laws Encourage Youth Marijuana
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mark Anderson, Ph.D.
Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Montana State University, IZA, and NBER
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: In a previous study that was published in JAMA Pediatrics, we used Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data and found that the adoption of recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) was associated with an 8% decrease in the odds of marijuana use among high school students. This earlier study, however, had pre-legalization and post-legalization data from only 7 states and pre- and post-recreational sales data from only 3 states, calling into question the generalizability of our findings.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: In the current study, we provide updated estimates based on a longer period of observation (i.e., 1993-2019). During this period, pre- and post-recreational marijuana laws data from the YRBS are available from 10 states, and 7 states contributed data to the YRBS before and after the first dispensary sales began.
Consistent with our previous study, we found little evidence that recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) or medical marijuana laws (MMLs) encourage youth marijuana use in the United States.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: A limitation of our study is that RMLs are a relatively new phenomenon. As more states legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and more post-legalization data become available, researchers will be able to draw firmer conclusions about the effects of RMLs on youth marijuana use.
Anderson DM, Rees DI, Sabia JJ, Safford S. Association of Marijuana Legalization With Marijuana Use Among US High School Students, 1993-2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2124638. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.24638
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