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Medical Marijuana Legalization Not Associated With Increases In Youth Pot Use, Study Says

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Providence, RI: The enactment of state laws allowing for the limited use of cannabis by physician-authorized patients is not associated with increases in young people's self-reported use of the substance, according to survey data presented last week by researchers at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

A team of investigators from Brown University in Rhode Island, Boston Medical Center, and the Oregon Health & Science University compared trends in adolescents' use of cannabis in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Rhode Island lawmakers enacted medical marijuana legislation in 2006 while Massachusetts' law does not allow for the legal use of the drug.

Based on their analysis of 32,570 students, investigators determined that while marijuana use was common throughout the study period, there were no statistically significant differences in teens' use of cannabis between the two states in any year.

"Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana," stated the study's lead investigator in a press release.

Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science center had previously published similar findings, determining, "[C]onsistent with other studies of the liberalization of cannabis laws, medical cannabis laws do not appear to increase use of the drug."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.






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