Cannabis Public Policy Consulting recently conducted a new large-scale survey, which found that states which still criminalize cannabis have more underage users. The cannabis policy consulting company carried out an analysis of an extensive range of cannabis use trends and public health outcomes in 25 states. They included states where adult-use marijuana is legalized, where only medical cannabis is permitted and where marijuana is completely prohibited.
The survey’s findings back the notion that regulated marijuana markets encourage positive marijuana-related outcomes to public health and also promote responsible behaviors. The survey focused on various factors, including the age of initiation for cannabis use. This is considered a central data point since an individual is more likely to experience negative short- and long-term health outcomes as well as societal consequences the younger they are when they start consuming drugs such as marijuana.
The researchers discovered that the average age of initiation in both recreational and medical states was 17 while the average age in illegal states was 16.7 years. They explained that while the difference between the two ages seemed small, it could represent a crucial part of youth development. The researchers also noted that their findings demonstrated that access to cannabis for adults in legal states wasn’t causing young individuals to begin consuming marijuana at earlier ages.
The survey also found that young people aged between 16 and 20 living in states where marijuana was illegal used the drug more frequently, at an average of 13.6 days monthly. This figure is higher than the 9.5 days recorded in recreational states and almost double the 7.9 days observed in medical states.
In the report, the researchers noted that collectively, young individuals in both recreational and medical states averaged roughly 5 days less of marijuana use in comparison to their counterparts in states where the drug was illegal. They highlighted that annually, this difference equaled 60 days more marijuana use in illegal states.
In addition to frequency of use, the survey also looked into impaired-driving cases, determining that individuals living in illegal states had the highest number of impaired driving cases, at 5.1 days per month on average. In adult-use and medical states, this figure stood at 4.3 and 4.2 days per month respectively.
Furthermore, the researchers examined cannabis use disorder rates. The disorder is characterized by difficulty reducing or controlling cannabis use, experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, continuing to use the drug despite negative consequences and finding it hard to maintain relationships.
These findings regarding the lack of escalation in teen use following marijuana legalization provides proof that the legal industry and its actors, such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), are making a lot more positive contributions to society than they are currently given credit for.
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