Canada: No Significant Change in Youth Marijuana Use Following Adult-Use Legalization

Waterloo, Canada: Marijuana consumption trends among Canadian youth have remained largely unchanged following the enactment of adult-use legalization, according to data published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Waterloo School of Public Health assessed cannabis use trends in a cohort of over 100,000 high-school students in the years immediately prior to and following legalization. 

They reported that pre-legalization trends have remained consistent. In the years immediately prior to legalization, researchers had identified an uptick in “occasional but not regular use” of cannabis. Between 2005 and 2015, youth marijuana use declined

Authors concluded: “In the longitudinal sample, no significant differences in trends of cannabis use over time were found between cohorts for any of the three use frequency metrics. Therefore, it appears that cannabis legalization has not yet been followed by pronounced changes on youth cannabis use.”

Analyses from the United States have similarly failed to show any uptick in young people’s use of cannabis following the enactment of state-specific legalization laws. 

Full text of the study, “Trends in youth cannabis use across cannabis legalization: Data from the COMPASS prospective cohort study,” appears in Preventive Medicine Reports. Additional information regarding legalization and youth use patterns is available from the NORML fact sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”