Teens and Marijuana: What effect has been recreated by recent weed reforms?

As data continues to roll in following the decriminalization of weed for recreational purposes in 8 states as well as in Washington, DC, a number of public policy experts are starting to question the conventional beliefs held concerning the relaxation of the federal marijuana laws in America. The notion has been that children would believe that America legalizes the smoking of weed. In that case, kids would consequently increase their cannabis use. Continued use of weed would then pave way for abusing other illegal substances, in what is commonly defined as the “gateway theory”. One set of data seeks to assess how decriminalization of weed has affected the use of marijuana amongst teens especially through the yearly Monitoring The Future (MTF) survey, normally done by the University of Michigan for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). This has been an ongoing research since 1975 mainly targeting 12th graders on their perceptions and habits revolving around drugs. Later on in 1991, 10th and 8th graders were included in the study.

The experimentation of teens with alcohol in recent times has significantly reduced and MTF reports that 2016 was the year to have recorded the lowest rates of having ever used alcohol. About 23% of the 8th grader, 61% of the 12th graders and 43% of the 10th graders reported lifetime use of alcohol. Analysts say that there has been a very big competition in almost every way between the marijuana and alcohol industry. They believe that the change in statistics may have been contributed by the continued legalization of cannabis throughout the U.S. The use of marijuana amongst teens is believed to have contributed to the significant drop on alcohol consumption. So the question is, “does the accurate and honest discussion of adult cannabis use lead children to believe other drug health caution by abolishing the “reefer madness” they know is not true or is it just a coincidence that children switched to using cannabis from other drugs?

A lot of changes have happened in recent times, following the decriminalization of weed in some parts of America. There has been a notable decrease in the consumption of alcohol relative to marijuana cutting across the population. The young have not been left out and while it appears to be good news that there is not much of alcohol drinking among the young, parents should be wary of what teens have turned to. Apparently, teens are making their own interpretations concerning the legal use of marijuana and that is why they will try very hard to get it. The rates of cannabis use amongst 8th and 10th graders have however been on the decline for some time now. With the legalization comes regulations and it seems to have worked relatively well for this age group. For a long time now, the use of marijuana amongst teens has not been that rampant but things are beginning to change with the recent reforms on cannabis. Over the 2000s, there was a double-digits decline in the use of marijuana, something that seems to be fading with time.

The daily and lifetime use of cannabis exhibited virtually no change throughout the year 2015 while increases in a monthly and annual use were notably insignificant. However, the story about marijuana has been spreading like weeds in recent times. Even before, during and after the 2016 elections this has been a highly contested topic. Ideally, it was a wedge issue during the recently conducted US Elections. For most teens, they use weed as a fad but they tend to be somehow dependent on it after a while. For them, it is usually a fuss but it soon catches up with them and the shift from alcohol use has seen many opt for marijuana.

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