Teen Marijuana Use Drops Even as States Embrace Legalization

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert are fascinated, though not surprised, by recent research showing that teenage marijuana use in America is dropping, despite more and more states embracing legal access to marijuana.
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To be sure, this is part of a much larger, and encouraging, trend. As reported by the Washington Post, teenagers are smoking cigarettes far less than they used to, they’re drinking way less alcohol, and, as noted above, they’re smoking less pot. What’s notable here is that of the three substances mentioned above, the only one that’s recently become legal in a number of states is marijuana.

Critics of marijuana legalization have argued, since the days of Richard Nixon and still today, that legalizing pot will make it more accessible, and more susceptible to abuse, especially by the younger members of society. Moreover, they have said, doing so will “send the wrong message.” This 2014 study, carried out by the University of Michigan and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, clearly proves that those critics are wrong.

The comprehensive study should be taken as true scholarship; it wasn’t just some small research project. In conducting the study, researchers worked with 40,000 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders, at a time during which marijuana legalization was a particularly hot topic before mid-term elections.

The findings on marijuana are fascinating. As we noted above, despite certain politicians and other hard-liners arguing that more relaxed marijuana laws will lead to an increase in youth marijuana use, the fact is that in 2014, a year filled with changing attitudes toward marijuana, teenage pot use declined, contradicting the exact argument put forward by marijuana prohibitionists.

As the Washington Post noted in their piece on the study, one need only look at the opposite effect to validate the study’s findings. In essence, while the research showed that relaxing marijuana laws didn’t lead to an increase in teen drug use (it actually led to a decrease), a look back to the 1990s shows just the opposite. During the early 1990s, when drug laws were becoming increasingly harsh, teen marijuana use leaped.

Our marijuana crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know from experience in handling these types of cases that strict marijuana laws don’t result in less marijuana use — the “deterrent” effect doesn’t work when it comes to marijuana use, especially not among teenagers. Relaxing marijuana laws does a great deal of good, from decreasing our prison population to unclogging our court system; and, as the study shows, it may even result in less teenage marijuana use!

If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense issue, please contact our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to speaking wit you.

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