A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that new medical marijuana laws do not affect the views of adolescents in those states. Researchers concluded that young people in the U.S. today hold more liberal views on marijuana usage overall, but were unable to pin down a reason for the trend.
Views concerning marijuana have evolved over recent years due to several states’ decisions to legalize the drug. While marijuana is already the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, conservatives are concerned that legalizing the drug will encourage even more usage among young people while minimizing the potential risks.
“We need to understand better how legalization of marijuana for recreational use is impacting young people,” Lisa Schmidt, professor at the University of California School of Medicine told Forbes. “[Commercial markets for marijuana sales] may send even stronger messages to kids, leading to more permissive views and direct impacts on kids living in legalization states.”
According to Forbes, researchers from the UCSF analyzed 10 annual waves of the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in an attempt to understand why younger generations hold more permissive views of marijuana. The researchers did uncover evidence that linked the legalization of medical marijuana to more tolerant opinions of the drug’s usage, however differences between state laws made it difficult to determine just how much effect those laws had on developing views.