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Federally funded study shows cannabis legalization is not associated with increased teen use

A new study funded by a top federal drug agency has found that state-level cannabis legalization is not associated with increased youth cannabis use.

The research article, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this month, looked at data from three longitudinal studies on past-year cannabis consumption and frequency of use among adolescents from 1999 to 2020 in Oregon, New York, and Washington State.

Washington voters legalized cannabis in 2012, followed by those in Oregon in 2014. New York moved to enact legalization last year, but retail stores haven’t opened yet, with regulators saying that will likely start happening before the end of this year.

With cannabis legalization on the ballot in five states across the U.S. this month, opponents have repeatedly made the argument that the reform would lead more underage people to use cannabis, despite numerous studies contradicting that point.

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