Study: legalizing recreational marijuana may lower teen usage

by | Apr 17, 2024

The study was shared by Smart and Safe Florida, the group behind Amendment 3 which aims to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Florida. The study found that, contrary to concerns, legalized recreational marijuana leads to a better-regulated marketplace that reduces substance abuse.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, the legalization and sale of recreational marijuana in various states have not increased substance use among teenagers in the United States. The study found evidence that such legislative changes may actually contribute to an overall decrease in the usage of cannabis, alcohol, and e-cigarettes among adolescents.

Smart & Safe Florida, a group advocating for the responsible legalization and regulation of adult-use marijuana in Florida, shared the findings of the study, which used data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys extending through 2021. The findings suggest a link between the legalization of recreational cannabis and modest declines in substance use among teenagers. In addition, the group pointed out that the introduction of recreational cannabis retail sales is associated with a lowered likelihood of cannabis use among this demographic. But the survey’s findings weren’t all rosy. Some who already use marijuana illegally showed a small increase in usage once legalized.

“This study provides further evidence that the legalization and regulation of adult-use marijuana does not necessarily lead to increased substance use among our youth,” wrote Smart & Safe Florida in an emailed press release. “In fact, it suggests that by implementing a well-regulated system, we may be able to better control the marijuana market and reduce teen use.”

The group also emphasized that the survey results reinforce the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework that ensures public health, education, and youth prevention are at the forefront of marijuana legalization efforts in Florida. Smart & Safe Florida remains dedicated to promoting safe and responsible policies to govern adult-use marijuana, aiming to prioritize the well-being of all Floridians. The group has largely been bankrolled by Trulieve, one of the nation’s largest retailers of medical marijuana and related products.

Read the full study results here.


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