The legalization of marijuana in Washington State is not associated with an increase in marijuana use by most teens, according to a study published in The Journal of Adolescent Health.
For the study researchers from Washington State University, the University of Massachusetts, and the Colorado School of Public Health assessed trends in teen marijuana use and employment in the years immediately prior to and immediately following the enactment of retail marijuana sales (2010 to 2016), reports NORML in a news release.
The study found that “marijuana use decreased significantly among working and non-working 8th and 10th graders.” Marijuana use similarly declined among 12th graders who were not employed, while among 12th graders who were employed more than eleven hours per week marijuana use actually increased over the study period, though just slightly. The study’s authors acknowledged that this latter finding was not unexpected because “the workplace may expose adolescents to peer or adult coworkers’ potentially unhealthy behaviors, including substance use.” Authors further acknowledged that working youth were also more likely to have reported using cannabis prior to the passage of legalization.
The full text of the study, titled “Employment and marijuana use among Washington state adolescents before and after legalization of retail marijuana,” appears in The Journal of Adolescent Health.
The study’s full abstract can be found below:
The purpose of the study was to describe associations between employment and marijuana use among adolescents 2 years before passage of 2012 ballot initiative and 2 years after the implementation of retail recreational marijuana sales took place in Washington.
We used 2010 and 2016 data from Washington’s statewide school-based Healthy Youth Survey, which is completed by more than 76,000 youth annually and representative of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in public schools. We used “difference-in-differences” regression to estimate the odds of current, past 30-day marijuana use by working status and hours worked per week compared with nonworking youth.