One of the reoccurring outcries often heard from opponents of legalization is, ‘What about the children?’ Going as far to say legalizing cannabis would, “literally dumb down the precious minds of generations of children.”
A recent study released from the Washington University of Medicine attempts to shed some light on the impact of legalizing cannabis and teenage usage rates. The study tested the following: As the presence of legal marijuana increases, does teenage marijuana use increase or decrease and do teenage cannabis-related problems increase or decrease?
Surveying over 216,000 adolescents from every state, surprisingly found cannabis use by the respondents is dropping and cannabis-related issues among teens are also decreasing, as more states legalize, according to a press release for the study.
The study included data from adolescents aged 12 to 17 collected between 2002 and 2013. During this time, the total number of teenagers who had general issues related to cannabis declined by a staggering 24 percent. Researchers also discovered a correlation in the drop of peripheral crimes such as fighting and drug dealing amongst respondents.
The study’s author, Professor Richard A. Grucza, was fairly shocked by the study’s findings. He stated,
“We were surprised to see substantial declines in marijuana use and abuse. We don’t know how legalization is affecting young marijuana users, but it could be that many kids with behavioral problems are more likely to get treatment earlier in childhood, making them less likely to turn to pot during adolescence. But whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization”
It seems the children will be just fine.