While marijuana legalization opponents often claim that legalizing the drug will cause underage use of marijuana to skyrocket, the data seems to contradict this view. The latest proof that the fears of those opposed to legalization are unfounded is survey data released by the Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-SAMHSA on Tuesday.
SAMHSA released the results of the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showing that the proportion of youth who have used marijuana within the last 30 days was less than the percentage of those who had used the drug according to the survey results of 2002-2004 and 2009-2013. Instead the teen marijuana use rates where similar to those recorded during the surveys done 2014-2017.
Nationally, the survey results show that the rates of teen marijuana use have been showing a downward trend from the time states started legalizing recreational marijuana. For example, the kids aged 12-17 who admitted to using marijuana were 13.5 percent of the respondents in 2012 but that number dropped to 12.5 percent during the 2018 survey.
The highest rate of teen marijuana use was recorded in 2002 when 15.8 percent reported that they used cannabis in the past month.
It should be remembered that Washington State and Colorado were the first to vote to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and commercial sales started in 2014.
The 2018 survey also shows that cases of cannabis use disorder declined among children aged 12-17. This is the seventh straight year of dropping cannabis misuse by teens.
What makes the findings of this survey interesting is the fact that there is a growing reduction in the number of people who think that the recreational use of marijuana is risky. This flies counter to the view held by legalization opponents that when recreational pot becomes legal, the drug will be normalized and its abuse will skyrocket.
In all, the survey found that there was a general increase in the number of people who use marijuana in all age groups. Individuals who are older than 26 accounted for the largest increase in marijuana consumption with the rate going up to 13.3 in 2018 from 12.2 percent the previous year.
It is believed that the latest federal data may not have come as a surprise to cannabis industry players like Sproutly Canada Inc. (CSE: SPR) (OTCQB: SRUTF) (FRA: 38G) and Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) since the industry has always maintained that adult-use marijuana could actually deter underage use since the market of the drug will be regulated.
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