Study: Marijuana-Related Attitudes Among College Students Largely Unchanged Following Adult-Use Legalization

Madison, WI: Young adults residing in an adult-use legalization state possess similar attitudes toward cannabis as do those residing in a jurisdiction where cannabis use remains illegal, according to data published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

A team of investigators from the University of Wisconsin at Madison assessed marijuana attitudes, intentions to use, and consumption patterns in a longitudinal cohort of 338 students at two large public universities in Washington and Wisconsin.

Researchers reported, “Ever use, attitude, and intention-to-use scores did not change significantly more in Washington after legalization than in Wisconsin.” However, authors did report that “among prior users, the proportion using in the last 28 days rose faster in Washington after legalization that it did in Wisconsin.”

They concluded: “Although the proportion of participants ever using remained similar across states overtime, the prevalence of 28-day use increased significantly more in Washington after RML [recreational marijuana laws] than in Wisconsin. Thus, rather than increasing the prevalence of new users, our findings suggest that legalization had the greatest direct effects on current marijuana users.”

Full text of the study, “Effects of recreational marijuana legalization on college students: A longitudinal study of attitudes, intentions, and use behaviors,” appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Additional information is available in the NORML Fact Sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”