Medical Marijuana Doesn't Increase Teen Drug Use

By McCarton Ackerman 06/19/12

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Not a gateway to wider teen drug use
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The concern among federal officials that medical marijuana would fall into the hands of teenagers if legalized seems to have been debunked. New data shows that while marijuana use has increased overall since 2005, medical marijuana has not been linked to increased use among high school students. Not only that, but marijuana use has even declined in some of the states that have legalized medical pot. The study also notes that very few minors are approved for medical marijuana use, and that no evidence was found that pot serves as a gateway drug for alcohol or cocaine use among teens. Researchers from three US universities examined nationally representative data collected from the Youth Risky Behavior Survey (YRBS) from 1993-2009, and also cited the Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use report, which is conducted annually by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. The report's 2011 version showed that nearly one in 15 high school seniors smoke marijuana on near-daily levels. Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana since 1996.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.