Cannabis Legalisation Isn’t Associated With Increased Youth Consumption

A new study has concluded that the legislation of cannabis for adult consumption has not led to an increase in teenagers using cannabis. 

Funded by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse in America (NIDA), this new study also correlates with previous research carried out by the same agency which found cannabis consumption among teenagers is actually decreasing, including in states where it’s legal. 

Colorado, one of the first states to legalise cannabis, has also reported a decline in adolescent consumption. A survey performed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found younger people were less likely to ingest cannabis by 35%. 

Weed is now legalised in 18 US states, with many more countries across the world, specifically in Europe, ready to follow in their footsteps. 

Study details 

Researchers wanted to find out whether state legislation of adult cannabis consumption was linked to an increase in adolescent use. 

They observed data which predicted changes in the probability of cannabis consumption in youngsters aged 13-18 in Oregon, New York, and Washington State. 

Authors looked at three separate longitudinal studies on past-year cannabis consumption in adolescents, and frequency of use between the years 1999 to 2020. 


According to the authors, the legalisation of cannabis was “not significantly related to a within-person change in the probability or frequency of self-reported past-year cannabis use” in teenagers. 

Researchers also observed data which compared teenagers who grew up in states with varying legislations.  

It was found that adolescents who grew up in states where cannabis is legalised were “no more, or less likely to have used cannabis at age 15 years than those who spent little or no time in legalised states.” 

Authors of the paper concluded the rates of teenage cannabis consumption is “holding steady after non-medical cannabis legalisation for adults”. 

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