However, there has been a significant number of studies to challenge this argument. A previous federal survey data showed that teen cannabis use fell dramatically in Colorado in between 2014 and 2015 following legalisation.
Another study, from Columbia University Medical Center, led by Dr. Deborah Hasin, also found that teen use of cannabis did not increase in States with legal access, in fact, rather the opposite:
“Our findings… suggest that passage of state medical marijuana laws does not increase adolescent use of marijuana.”
Discussing the results of her study with The Guardian, Dr. Hasin commented: “Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalises medical marijuana.”
Recreational cannabis use among adults, however, have significantly risen since legalisation, with the quickest growing consumption group being middle-aged and older adults. In 2016, 20.8% Americans between 18-25 used cannabis at least once a month: the highest since 1985.
This figure was only 14.5% for those aged 26-34.
What these surveys provide is a clear argument for legalisation of cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally. The facade of the “what about the children” argument has given way to hard facts: legalising cannabis lowers, not raises, use among teenagers.