Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use

Amazing that this is such a big deal, that we can administer morphine but not medical marijuana to alleviate pain. The paper is here.


While at least a dozen state legislatures in the United States have
recently considered bills to allow the consumption of marijuana for
medicinal purposes, the federal government is intensifying its
efforts to close medical marijuana dispensaries. Federal officials
contend that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages
teenagers to use marijuana and have targeted dispensaries operating
within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds. Using data from
the national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, the National
Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and the Treatment Episode Data Set,
we estimate the relationship between medical marijuana laws and
marijuana use. Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis
that legalization leads to increased use of marijuana by teenagers.

by D. Mark Anderson, Benjamin Hansen, Daniel I. Rees – #20332 (CH HE LE)

This entry was posted in Economics and public policy, Health. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use

  1. Sancho says:

    Harm minimisation is going to be a huge issue with legal cannabis.

    Decades of hyperbolic War on Drugs rhetoric has made the public sceptical of any warning about the negative health effects of pot, and even though it won’t turn you into a black jazz singer who cavorts with loose white women (that’s robotussin, kids), it sure as hell will kick off a bout of psychosis in a significant minority of users.

    Treatment and education will be vastly cheaper than policing and punishment, but it’ll be a battle to win public acknowledgment that pot isn’t harmless.

  2. Tim Macknay says:

    So long as Laura Norder remains an appealing campaign strategy for politicians looking for a route to power, rational drug policy will be impossible. Around decade ago the then WA government convened a large expert forum in an effort to devise drug policy in a depoliticised atmosphere. The government went on to adopt the least ambitious of the forum’s recommendations, which was to decriminalise small-scale cannabis possession. This policy was generally effective, and reduced the burden on police and courts in dealing with drug offences, and coincided will a period of general decline in illicit drug use (giving the lie to concerns that decriminalisation would encourage use). Notwithstanding the effectiveness of the policy, and its general approval by the relevant sectors (health, law enforcement, justice administration), the then opposition, campaigning on Laura Norder, proceeded to repeal the policy on winning the 2008 election.
    Perhaps the decriminalisation of medical marijuana will have more success, but so long as moral panics over teenage drug use are an attractive political strategy, it seems unlikely.

    • Paul frijters says:

      Agreed. Do you have a theory as to why populations care so much about the pot use of other people? They don’t care equally about their car use or dangerous sports, so there must be something particular about these drugs or it’s users that so offends the general public. Any ideas?

      • john Walker says:

        Paul , is pot use still a big issue for man?- I am a bit out of the loop on this one, had the impression that pot is not the big demon drug it was in 1975.

        Historicaly it seems to me that societies need to divide drug use into respectable and ‘demonic’ is much more enduring than- which particular drugs are demonic-at any one time.

      • Tel says:

        Bootleggers and Baptists.

        The general public don’t actually care that much what their neighbours do, but they sure don’t want to be seen condoning something the Baptist told them was a sin. Anyway, it was on TV and the young man had tattoos, so he was obviously up to no good.

  3. Hildy says:

    I am in favour of of recreational marijuana but not medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is like medical alcohol : possibly effective for some things but on the whole, unproven. I don’t want to be in the position of turning away drug seekers. It is already hard enough with opioids which are clearly effective.

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