New Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Do Not Increase Teen Use

Jul 15, 2013

American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Sarah Landsman, Institute for the Study of Labor, McGill University, teen, Texas A&M

A new study has affirmed that medical marijuana laws do not increase the likelihood that a young person will choose to smoke marijuana recreationally.

The study, “Effects of State Medical Marijuana Laws on Adolescent Marijuana Use,” compared teen use rates of marijuana in several states that now have medical marijuana laws from 2003 – 2011. Conducted by researchers at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, the study was published in the American Journal of Public Health last month.

Researchers found no evidence to support the claim that enacting medical marijuana laws would increase teen use in those states. Rather, of their statistically significant results, they found that teen use rates in one state actually declined after the passage of a medical marijuana law.


Dr. Sarah Landsman, a study author, said, “This is the exact opposite of what we would have expected if the medical marijuana laws were increasing teen recreational marijuana use.”

The results of this study are just the latest to join a growing body of evidence (including a 2012 study by the Institute for the Study of Labor, a 2012 study from McGill University in Montreal, a 2011 study from Brown University, a 2007 study from Texas A&M, and data on Arizona’s teen use rates, as well as this 2011 publication of California Pediatrician ) that medical marijuana laws do not cause the dreaded spike in adolescent use that many fear.

MPP regularly analyzes all available data from medical marijuana states for our Teen Use Report and reaches the same conclusions.