More than half — 61% — of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal
In states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized, teens are less likely to smoke it, says a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Other recent studies have come to similar conclusions.
“Licensed dispensaries require proof of age,” the JAMA study authors wrote. Drug dealers generally do not ID their customers.
The researchers determined the results with data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey between 1993 and 2017. Washington, D.C. and 27 states provided data on teen use before and after changes to medical marijuana laws. Seven states contributed data before and after recreational marijuana laws changed. More than 1 million high school students were included in the study.
In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The law will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Illinois follows California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska, Vermont, Michigan, and the District of Columbia in having legalized some form recreational marijuana.
Thirty-three states and D.C. allow medical marijuana use. And the number of states where weed is legal is likely to rise in the near future. In fact, many 2020 Democratic candidates are discussing the issue.
Nearly all of the presidential Democratic candidates support removing marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances.
Cory Booker, a senator from New Jersey and one of the 2020 candidates for the Democratic nomination, reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act this February. The act, originally introduced in 2017, would legalize marijuana in every state and expunge federal convictions of those have been arrested for marijuana use.
Other 2020 candidates, including senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, are backing the bill.
Joe Biden, the former vice president who is leading the 2020 Democratic field, said in May that “nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana.” He supports decriminalizing the drug but not legalizing its use entirely.