Surprising No One, Science Concludes Legalizing Drugs Leads To Increased Drug Use

(Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Font Size:

Cannabis use has surged across the United States, disproportionately in states that legalized the substance in recent years, according to a new Columbia University and City University of New York study.

Researchers examined data from 2004-2017 and found that both the rate of cannabis use and the daily amount of use rose in the United States during that time. Americans of all ages who were smokers were also significantly more likely to be regular users of cannabis, especially if they were teens.

States that had legalized cannabis by 2017 saw larger increases in use. “Cannabis use was markedly more prevalent in states where recreational use is legal for adults, relative to states where it was not in 2017,” said adjunct associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia, Renee Goodwin. “Yet, the increases in cannabis use during this time period were as fast, or faster, in states where cannabis use is prohibited by law, relative to states that had legalized for recreational use by 2017.”

“Recent trends, however, outline a potential explosion in both of-age and under-age use,” she added.

The study looked at a sample of 784,293 Americans overall, 56,276 of which were surveyed in 2017. (RELATED: NYT Quietly Removed Reference To Uvalde Shooter Complaining Grandma Wouldn’t Allow Him To Smoke Weed)

Another eleven states have since fully legalized recreational marijuana use since 2017, bringing the total to nineteen in addition to Washington, D.C, although it remains federally outlawed.