Last week, a top federal drug official restated that marijuana use among teenagers has not increased in states where cannabis is legal. This astonished a GOP senator, who said that he awaited a different outcome that would be similar to the alcohol-related trends.
The issue was addressed by Nora Volkow, director of National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), during a hearing in front of the Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. She raised concern on the possible health risks from overall marijuana use.
Through the evidence, she made it clear that the facts did not reinforce the common prohibitionist notion that reforming cannabis regulations increases underage use. Responding to a question posed by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Volkow said that an increase in adolescents’ marijuana consumption has not been linked with the drug’s legalization across the U.S. states.
Cassidy was surprised by the response, and he said that when alcohol laws are relaxed there is usually a spike in use by adolescents in that county. He is referring to the alcohol policies where purchases are restricted on certain dates. Last year, the senator helped decriminalize cannabis possession in his state of Louisiana but is yet to legalize commercial sales for recreational marijuana.
The NIDA director said in her testimony of a possible association between marijuana use in young people and rising risks of suicidality. She, however, said that it was hard to determine “causality” and that it would take necessary studies to establish that.
In her testimony, she mentioned that legalization of marijuana raises the concern of negative mental health effects resulting from cannabis use. She mentioned that U.S.-based studies are not finding that many teenagers are using marijuana post-legalization. She notes that contradictory research may come out from different parts of the world.
In recent interviews, Volkow has mentioned her surprise of the survey’s results that legalization does not lead to more young people experimenting with cannabis. However, advocates seem not to be surprised because they have constantly argued that establishing regulated market systems for adult use would mitigate the illegal market and enforcing ID requirements restricts youth access to marijuana.
In 2012 while serving as Colorado governor, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) unsuccessfully attempted to persuade voters to turn down a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana. He based his persuasion on the worries that the legalization would encourage more consumption by young people. Recently, he backed down from the claim after data generated within Colorado since cannabis legalization showed that his worries bear no grounds. Hickenlooper found that more elderly residents frequented cannabis shops.
Recently, a report released by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR) also contradicted the claim that creating a regulated cannabis market would increase marijuana consumption among young people.
When top federal officials such as Volkow assert that marijuana legalization hasn’t increased cannabis use by teens, it is a strong statement backing what industry actors such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) have always believed that one way to reduce teen use is by creating legal markets for marijuana.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/NUGS
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