Boston, MA: The enactment of state-level laws legalizing marijuana for adults does not influence early adolescents’ attitudes toward its potential risks, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

Investigators affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School assessed children’s perceptions of marijuana-related harms over three years in states with and without legal cannabis marketplaces.

They determined that “individual child-level characteristics, rather than state policy,” contribute primarily to young people’s attitudes toward cannabis.

“There was no significant main effect of state RCLs [recreational cannabis laws] on perceived risk of cannabis use, and no differences in change over time by state RCLs,” researchers reported. 

They concluded, “This analysis indicates that state-level RCLs are not associated with differential perception of cannabis risk among children.”

The study’s conclusions are consistent with those of numerous others, finding that adult-use regulations are not associated with increased marijuana use or access among young people.  

Full text of the study, “State-level recreational cannabis legalization is not differentially associated with cannabis risk perception among children: A multilevel regression analysis,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Additional information is available from the NORML Fact Sheet, ‘Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.’

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