New research continues to debunk just about every myth used to criminalize drugs, with the latest long-term study on the issue producing results sure to influence the marijuana debate.
According to a study analyzing data on 1 million teenagers in 48 states, legalizing medical marijuana does not lead to increased underage usage of the drug and in fact actually reduces teen usage.
The study, published in the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry, tracked 1,098,270 8th-grade, 10th-grade and 12th-grade students over 24 years. All were asked if they had smoked or used marijuana products in the prior month.
One interesting finding was that pot use decreased among eighth graders after medical marijuana was made legal because the teens started to view marijuana as a relatively harmless medical product which marijuana industry expert Debra Borchardt said "certainly doesn't fit with the idea of being a rebellious teenager".
Of the 21 states that had legalized medical marijuana as of 2014, not only hadn't teenage pot use increased but had actually decreased from 8 percent before legalization to 6 percent afterward.
In states that have passed medical marijuana laws after the study began, teen use was already slightly higher than in other states. Usage was about 16 percent in those states compared to 13 percent in states that still lack medical marijuana laws.