Do New Medical Marijuana Laws Increase Teen Use of Cannabis? Interview with:

D. Mark Anderson, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics Montana State University, IZA, and NBER

Dr. Anderson

D. Mark Anderson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Montana State University, IZA, and NBER What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys for the period 1993-2017, we explore the effect medical and recreational marijuana laws have on teen use.

We find that medical marijuana laws (MMLs) are not associated with teen marijuana consumption, but recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) are actually negatively associated with teen use. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: We find no evidence that teen use goes up after legalization for recreational or medicinal purooses.  This is an important and policy-relevant finding as opponents of these laws generally claim that youth marijuana use will skyrocket in the wake of legalization. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Because recreational marijuana laws are so recent, we observe a limited amount of post-treatment data for the RML states in our data set.  As time passes, it would make sense to update these estimates as more data become available. 

Funding/Support: This study received support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (research infrastructure grant R24 HD042828, Dr Anderson, to the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington, where Dr Anderson was a fellow) and the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies at San Diego State University, including grant funding received from the Charles Koch Foundation to Dr Sabia.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. 


Anderson DM, Hansen B, Rees DI, Sabia JJ. Association of Marijuana Laws With Teen Marijuana Use: New Estimates From the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 08, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1720 


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