Despite the fearmongering of the anti-marijuana crowd — some of whom have gone on to have lucrative careers in the COVID-denialism space — it looks like legalization has been a net positive when it comes to the detrimental effects of cannabis. According to a new study that just came out, marijuana treatment admissions have declined in states that have legalized the plant.
The new study, titled “Trends in Adolescent Treatment Admissions for Marijuana in the United States, 2008-2017,” found that “adolescent treatment admissions for marijuana declined in most of states. The mean annual admissions rate for all states declined over the study period by nearly half, from 60 (admissions per 10,000 adolescents) in 2008 to 31 in 2017.”
Furthermore, the authors noted that states with the “steepest level of admissions decline” were the ones that had legalized cannabis. Go figure!
According to a statement released by NORML on the study, the author said there were several possibilities as to why the trend was occurring. However, researchers “did not assess whether declining marijuana admissions rates were correlated with changes in marijuana law enforcement and sentencing.”
“These findings add to the growing body of scientific literature showing that legalization policies can be implemented in a manner that provides access for adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and misuse,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano in a press release.
Furthermore, according to NORML, data published in 2017 that comes from the journal Substance Use & Misuse found that the criminal justice system is responsible for placing over half of all young people into drug and alcohol treatment centers. The prison to rehab pipeline is real and, as per many, harmful.
“This research suggests that a precipitous national decline in adolescent treatment admissions [is occurring], particularly in states legalizing recreational marijuana use,” noted the CDC report, as per a press release from NORML.
This isn’t the first study to note that problematic marijuana use is on the decline. In fact, according to NORML, a few separate studies have now reported that cannabis use disorder has been on the decline since at least 2002.
“Consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth,” a 2019 study published in JAMA Pediatrics concluded.
The study continued: “Moreover, the estimates reported … showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes. This latter result is consistent … with the argument that it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”
It looks like some anti-marijuana folks may soon be out of business.