Breaking News: Medicinal Cannabis Laws Have No Discernable Adverse Impact On Adolescents’ Pot Use

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The enactment of state laws allowing for the limited legal use of cannabis by qualified patients has little to no causal effect on broader marijuana use, according to data published online in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

Investigators at McGill University in Montreal obtained state-level estimates of marijuana use from the 2002 through 2009 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Researchers used difference-in-differences regression models to estimate the causal effect of medical cannabis laws on marijuana use, and simulations to account for measurement error.

Authors reported: “Difference-in-differences estimates suggested that passing MMLs (medical marijuana laws) decreased past-month use among adolescents … and had no discernible effect on the perceived riskiness of monthly use. … [These] estimates suggest that reported adolescent marijuana use may actually decrease following the passing of medical marijuana laws.”

They concluded, “We find limited evidence of causal effects of medical marijuana laws on measures of reported marijuana use.”

Previous investigations by researcher teams at Brown University in 2011 and Texas A&M in 2007 made similar determinations, concluding, “[C]onsistent with other studies of the liberalization of cannabis laws, medical cannabis laws do not appear to increase use of the drug.”

The findings are in direct conflict with public statements made by Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, who in recent years has frequently alleged that the passage of medical cannabis laws is directly responsible for higher levels of self-reported marijuana consumption among US teenagers.

Full text of the study, “Do Medical Marijuana Laws Increase Marijuana Use? Replication Study and Extension,” can be read online here.

37 thoughts

  1. That pretty much leaves the only concern these prohibitionist bastards can come up with… stoned driving. But we all know these latest facts will not change the minds of these backward doche bags. One more brick removed from the wall of misinformation though.

  2. That’s “discernible effect,” please correct your headline, it gives stoners a bad name.

    Paul Armentano responds: From the study: “Difference- in-differences estimates suggested that passing medical marijuana laws decreased past-month use among adolescents by 0.6 percent- age points (95% CI: 0.1-1.1) and had no discernible affect on the perceived riskiness of monthly use. Models incorporating measurement error in the state estimates of marijuana use yielded little evidence that passing medical marijuana laws affects marijuana use.” Nevertheless, I will amend the headline to avoid confusion.

  3. Maybe the teen use is going down due to the fact that, in states with medical access, the parents no longer need to get product through their 13 year-old at middle school.
    Proof will be forthcoming as the feds peeing on our trees and tearing down our sand castles will reveal a reverse in that trend. I am being forced back to the old black market again, due to them closing legitimate access points for adults.

  4. Gosh, you’d think that the government would have a good reason to keep pot illegal if you just listen to their propaganda, but really it’s all about who’s paying them to say what. Big Pharma, Uncle Sam wants you to take your medicine and stay out of people’s liberty.

  5. People who are opposed to medical marijuana often cite this alleged (and evidently false) negative impact on children, but I think they are usually oblivious to just how available marijuana already is to their kids with or without medical marijuana laws. We’ve been hearing the “It’ll hurt our children” line for years. We also hear it with gay marriage. The thought of our kids being corrupted is so disturbing that people just aren’t looking into the argument and realizing that it’s just a scare tactic. But then again, the media loves scare tactics and unfortunately so do voters.

  6. Mybe the government could restore some trust if they freed the weed and said they laid after all the fist 2 steps are admitting ur wrong and have problem and 2 is apologizeing

  7. This is what democracy means.
    When you give people responsibility, people behave responsibly.
    When you take the peoples responsibility away, you create a criminal culture.
    Prohibition is the government saying to the people, “we don’t trust you”.

  8. Cannabis is very similar to tea. In fact, I consider it a type of “tea”. To ban cannabis because “it contains a bunch of chemicals” is like banning oranges for the use of Vitamin C.

  9. Hi All from MS, please see below and call your senator to support MMJ in MS;
    Mississippi Senator pushing to legalize medical marijuana

    Posted: Feb 07, 2012 9:02 PM CST
    Updated: Feb 07, 2012 10:47 PM CST
    By Terrance Friday – bio | email

    Hattiesburg prepares for first Mardi Gras parade
    Was it bathroom slang or a bomb threat at JCJC?
    Bond set for man charged with JCJC bomb threat
    Over 100 Heidelberg High students suspended
    Mississippi Senator pushing to legalize medical marijuana
    Police: Mom cut baby girl’s throat
    Powell boys’ funeral is Saturday; 911 calls released
    Forrest County man faces new rape and murder charges
    Major east-west roads to be closed for Hub Mardi Gras parade
    APNewsBreak: FEMA to waive Katrina victim debts
    Mardigras Parade Preview
    Citizens concerned over Lumberton animal hoarder.
    Woman set on fire by boyfriend
    HIV Awareness
    Nathan’s Sports for Feb. 7th: Oak grove snaps 24-year regional drought; Memphis waves goodbye to Conference USA
    Hattiesburg Bar Ordinance
    M.I.A. flips bird during Super Bowl halftime show

    NFL, NBC apologize after M.I.A. middle finger during Super Bowl halftime show
    AUDIO: Powell explosion 911 call
    Mississippi Sex Education
    Mom arrested for cutting daughter’s throat
    Personal Injury Attorney
    For the fourth year in a row, Senator Deborah Dawkins of Pass Christian is submitting another proposal in an effort to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Mississippi.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. On the flip side, experts say when used for medicinal purposes, the often frowned upon substance can be quite useful. That’s why Senator Deborah Dawkins is working hard to legalize its medical use in our state.

    “I think most people want their doctors to help them make their own decisions. And to me, we’re taking something away from the patients and their physicians,” Dawkins said.

    A number of studies have shown that some attributes of the cannabis plant can relieve pain, control nausea, and help with a long list of other ailments. As of now, 16 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized the use of medical marijuana.

    Dawkins wants Mississippi added to that list, especially since a lab at the University of Mississippi is already involved. The lab serves as the federal government’s marijuana repository, growing the plant for research facilities across the country.

    “It’s something that seems very unfair. That we in Mississippi provide this medicine, that’s what it is, medicine, for people in other states and not in our very own,” Dawkins said.

  10. Missouri teenager Alyssa Bustamante has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the killing of a 9-year-old girl. The 18-year-old was sentenced Wednesday in Cole Country Circuit Court. She pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 stabbing and strangling of her neighbor, Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante’s defense attorneys said in court that an abundance of the drug Prozac could have been a catalyst to her behavior. A consulting psychiatrist testified Monday afternoon that Bustamante’s prescription for Prozac may have helped lead her to kill

    Read more:

  11. Rest assured that the prohibitionists will continue to ignore pro-cannabis facts in their cherry picking. As long as most of the public are ignorant of the statistical significance, the feds will continue to use the lie that MMJ does lead to increased use by minors.

    Focusing only on the misspelling of discernible misses the point, however it should be corrected if going to publication outside of this blog to HuffPost or out in the NORML eletter, etc.

    What the pro-cannabis scientific and medical community thinks of the cannabis studies and statistics is all perfect material to put in another miniseries on CNBC, History or History 2 or Discovery or PBS, you know, just as Trish Regan and Steve de Angelo and others did. Maybe Jenji Kohan could embed some of it in Weeds.

    People will tune in for the new shows as the old ones’ ratings wane, and the new ones will make them interested in seeing the reruns so that they are fresh in their minds to compare them. You might also get some spots with Barry Cooper, even work with Barry Cooper to make some episodes for the aforementioned channels. Barry shows how he did it, how they do it in Houston, Atlanta, DC, Baltimore, Camden, NYC, Boston, Chicago, you know, not busting cops but showing how cops operate. He’s the perfect guy to put forth the statistics about how many cops have reported they ever used cannabis on their employment applications, and from other sources. Barry has been good to us, and he deserves some decent money for all the legal expenses he’s had, too.

    People will definitely tune in. That’s why shows save the marijuana segments till the end of the show. You know that, and don’t need me to tell you that.

    You’ve got to keep the drumbeat going.

    The Beat Goes On


    Sonny & Cher

  12. alcohol is legal, pills and scripts are legal. However, you mix these you you run an risk of death. you can mix any medication with herbs and youll be perfectly fine..just really doesnt make sense to me. id rather alcohol was illegal and weed was legal.

  13. in the past 30 years most countries in the Balkans would give pot to their kids to calm them down also in the us a long time ago

  14. soon all states will have medical marijuana and also thats the only way they can patent pot making it for medical use

  15. Will someone please call out or sue Above The Influence then for lying to everyone on their site about the “dangers” of marijuana…

    [Paul Armentano responds: Those commercials are paid for by the ONDCP with taxpayers’ dollars — your money. Therefore, it is best that the voters themselves contact their federally elected officials and urge them to stop spending their money on this sort of propaganda.]

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