JAMA Pediatrics: Legal Medical Cannabis DOES NOT encourage youth use

There is an unfair and non-scientific bias in local Hawai’i society and media regarding medical cannabis. I spoke in depth with Senator Roz Baker (D-Maui) last February about these misconceptions. Old School propagandists made inaccurate claims not supported by scientific data nor medical research.

Good people reasonably wanted to protect their keiki — but were fooled by those with unscrupulous agendas. Decent people want to ensure safety in the workplace — they rely on opinions and non-factual information. As there are more states with legal medical and recreational cannabis policies, modern research paints a more precise and accurate picture. Truth eventually prevails in open and democratic societies.

It is simple as this: legal dispensaries do a better job keeping cannabis from our youngsters than do criminals on the streets. This is intuitive. Criminal dealers sell to anyone. Legitimate businesses have much to lose. There is zero incentive to sell to minors.


This JAMA Pediatrics Research Letter released July 8, 2019. You get it first from ClearHealthLife.

Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) from 1993 to 2017, more policy variation was captured than in any previous study in the literature to the knowledge of the research team.

These surveys are administered biennially to US high school students (grades 9-12) and are used by government agencies to track trends in behaviors such as unhealthy eating, sexual activity, and substance use.

Consistent with results of previous researchers, there was NO evidence legalization of medical cannabis encourages cannabis use among youth.

In the U.S., 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical cannabis laws (MMLs), while 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Policy makers are particularly concerned legalization of either medicinal or recreational purposes will encourage cannabis use among youth.

The valid concern is repeated cannabis use during adolescence may lead to long-lasting changes in brain function that adversely affect educational, professional, and social outcomes.

Looking at a final sample size of 1,414,826 participants, research published in the Journal of American Medicine Association Pediatrics concluded:

[1] Consistent with results of previous researchers, there was NO evidence legalization of medical cannabis encourages cannabis use among youth.

[2] Moreover, the estimates reported in the Table showed cannabis use among youth may actually DECLINE after legalization for recreational purposes.


[3] This latter result is CONSISTENT with findings by Dilley et al and with the argument it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain cannabis as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.

NOTE: I do not use the term, “marijuana.” It was developed and used initially beginning in 1937 to racially demonize persons of color. More sophisticated leaders prefer cannabis sativa, cannabis indica or simply cannabis. We are AmeriCANS — we CAN be better people!

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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”

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