Do more people use cannabis in states where it has been legalised?

1st October 2021

While those that oppose the legalisation of recreational cannabis often claim that an end to prohibition would mean a rise in so-called stoners, the findings of a recent study suggest otherwise.

According to the Independent, researchers found that in states where recreational cannabis is legalised, usage hasn’t spiked.

In a recent article, published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the authors reported that no increase in cannabis use in the general population was identified when the drug became legal in the state where they lived.

Researchers looked at data between 2008 and 2017 and analysed more than 830,000 participants’ accounts.

The study concluded: “Changes in cannabis use by race and ethnicity that may be attributable to policy enactment and variations in recreational policy provisions should be monitored.

“To ensure that the enactment of recreational cannabis laws truly contributes to greater equity in outcomes and adheres to antiracist policies, monitoring unintended and intended consequences that may be attributable to recreational cannabis use and similar policies by race and ethnicity is needed.”

Currently, 18 states and Washington, DC, have legalised recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 years or more and an additional 21 states legalised medical cannabis.

Full legalisation is something of a hot topic in the United States. Amazon, for example, is currently lobbying the government to make cannabis legal at the federal level.

Furthermore, a number of cannabis bills have been submitted to the House of Representatives – the measures will be sent to the House floor for a second time.

The Senate is now controlled by the Democrats, who have been openly working on a new federal cannabis policy for a while.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, alongside Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced a draft bill in July that would eventually legalise recreational cannabis at the federal level.

The pressure is mounting on President Joe Biden to approve meaningful changes to cannabis policy in the US.

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