A new study has found that a rise in marijuana use among U.S. teens over the past 20 years doesn’t have any significant relation to the legalization of marijuana for medical use.
Researchers compared surveys of marijuana use by adolescents conducted annually by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that the probability that a high schooler had used pot in the last 30 days was no more than 0.8 percent higher in legal states compared to states that hadn’t approved medical marijuana.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and opponents of legalization are worried it will increase use among teens. Monitoring the Future is an organization funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has studied drug use among teens since 1975. The organization found that in 2013, 36 percent of high school seniors said they used pot in the last year, while 6.5 percent said they used it almost every day.
Use among twelfth graders peaked in 1979 at 51 percent and fell to a low of 22 percent in 1992. Use slowly increased after 1992, but has leveled out since 2011.