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Marijuana Use Rising in Legalized States, New Study Finds

Tuesday, December 04, 2018
GoLocalPDX News Team

More people are using marijuana in legalized states than before, according to a new study.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), more young people are trying marijuana for the first time in Colorado, the first state to allow recreational marijuana, than anywhere else in the nation.

"This is one in a long list of studies that proves Big Marijuana is targeting and subsequently harming our most vulnerable populations. Its profits-over-people business model is designed to hook people when they're most susceptible and make lifetime users out of them. When will we learn the marijuana industry isn't our friend, rather a social disease just like Big Tobacco was decades ago?” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president and founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

The Study

According to the study, in 2017, marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds was highest in Vermont (17.88%), followed by Oregon (17.01%).

Past month use of marijuana is noticeably greater in states that have legalized among those 12+ by 7.6%, 12-17 by 2.8%, and 18+ by 8.7%.

Washington, D.C. saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting past month use in 2017, compared to 2016.

Washington saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting both past month and year use in 2017, compared to 2016.

Marijuana in Massachusetts

This data comes a couple of weeks after marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts.

As GoLocalProv reported, Massachusetts announced over $2.2 million in gross sales in their first five days.

During the five days, over 56 thousand units were purchased, with an average of 3.4 units per transaction -- and the average spent per unit was just under $40.

"I think at this point, there are still folks who disagree with legalization, and we can debate a lot of different aspects of it, but I think everyone is able to make an informed decision about whether or not they agree with it," said Marijuana Policy Project's Jared Moffat on GoLocal LIVE. 

Rhode Island has not yet legalized marijuana. 

Moffat added, "I think that's going to be one our biggest arguments during the upcoming Rhode Island General Assembly session...we've waited long enough. There's really no excuse to delay a vote." 

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version had that use by youth was up; it has been corrected to reflect the study shows overall use is up in legalized states. 

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