One of the things that I hear prohibition supporters say most often is that marijuana legalization and/or medical marijuana legalization cannot be supported because it will increase marijuana use by minors. In every state that has fought for the creation of a medical marijuana program, one of the first things that opponents say is ‘what about the children?’ I can’t speak for every medical marijuana supporter and patient in the country, but I certainly know that when Oregon created it’s medical marijuana program the last thing I was thinking was ‘I cannot wait to share my meds with teens.’ And I know I wasn’t alone.
Medical marijuana is about medicine, not partying. That’s something that medical marijuana opponents know deep down, but they also know that there are a lot of people on the fence about the issue that see this area of public policy through a blurred lens. Opponents know that if they can just scare people that don’t know about the topic in depth, that they will maintain the status quo. Luckily for medical marijuana supporters, we have something better than scare tactics – facts. The fact of the matter is, medical marijuana laws don’t lead to increased adolescent use of marijuana in the states that have programs. Below is an excerpt from a study published by the American Journal of Public Health back in October:
Conclusions. Our results suggest that, in the states assessed here, MMLs have not measurably affected adolescent marijuana use in the first few years after their enactment.
Methods. We used data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and a difference-in-differences design to evaluate the effects of passage of state MMLs on adolescent marijuana use. The states examined (Montana, Rhode Island, Michigan, and Delaware) had passed MMLs at different times over a period of 8 years, ensuring that contemporaneous history was not a design confound.