Despite what a certain U.S. attorney general will have you believe, teens don’t appear to smoke more weed when it becomes legal. In fact, a new study found that teens in Washington are not smoking more weed after legalization.
Studying Teen Cannabis Consumption
The study was conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). It concluded that the legalization bill, known as I-502, has had more of a beneficial effect than not on cannabis regulation since it was passed in 2012. And that includes stabilizing the rate of teenagers smoking weed underage.
Or, to put it in layman’s terms: Teens in Washington are not smoking more weed after legalization.
“In my overall appraisal, there’s not much evidence I-502 has caused changes in the outcomes we looked at,” said lead WSIPP researcher and report author Adam Darnell.
To come to their results, the report used two main modes of analysis. “We examined the effect of I-502 enactment on cannabis abuse treatment admissions, comparing Washington to similar nonlegalizing states before and after I-502 enactment,” the report explained.
“We also examined how local differences in the amount of legal cannabis sales affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions, youth and adult substance use, and drug-related criminal convictions.”
Facts and Fiction
In the end, the report served as a “snapshot of our progress to date and are an intermediate step towards the ultimate cost-benefit analysis of I-502.”
Researchers were quick to note that the report is not a be-all-end-all. They noted that things could change as legalization continues to evolve.
The findings of the report work in diametric opposition to the “stats” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been touting since his appointment earlier this year.
Sessions, a staunch opponent of the legalization movement, previously called cannabis a “life-wrecking dependency” of a substance, despite studies that say otherwise.
The attorney general also went as far as to utilize fake stats and falsified data for his anti-weed agenda, which stated that legalization had resulted in a higher rate of illegal trafficking. In turn, Washington state officials were quick to refute Sessions’ baseless statement.
“It is clear that our goals regarding health and safety are in step with the goals Attorney General Sessions has articulated,” wrote Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a statement along with Attorney GeneralBob Ferguson.
“Unfortunately, he is referring to incomplete and unreliable data that does not provide the most accurate snapshot of our efforts since the marketplace opened in 2014.”
Final Hit: Teens In Washington Are Not Smoking More Weed After Legalization
Like the governor’s statement, the WSIPP report also repudiates the notion that cannabis legalization has increased criminal activity within the state. If anything, legalization has led to a steady uptick in employment, creating 6,227 full-time jobs since its inception.
As expected, the report showed an increase in weed usage amongst adults. “It’s not earth-shattering that people were using more of a product they’re buying more of,” Darnell added.
But when it comes to young people, there don’t seem to be any significant increases in the number of teens smoking weed.