Unlike the black market that sells marijuana to anyone with the money to pay for it, legal marijuana shops must follow rules regarding age as well as other considerations.

Many parents worry that legalizing marijuana will lead to increased use amongst teens. This is an understandable concern. Mind-altering substances can cause problems for some teens and an increase in teen marijuana use would not be a good thing. Actually however the facts do not indicate this is happening in places where the drug has been legalized. Why? Two reasons: First of all legalization of marijuana does not mean that anyone can purchase it. The other word that accompanies “legalization” is always “regulation”. 

Unlike the black market that sells marijuana to anyone with the money to pay for it, legal marijuana shops must follow rules regarding age as well as other considerations. Just like with liquor stores, failure to follow the restrictions results in fines or the loss of a dispensary license.

Second, prohibition has never made marijuana particularly difficult for teenagers to get. No age restrictions, little risk of getting caught, and easy to get most anywhere. Legalization and regulation has actually proven to reduce teen use. Rates of marijuana use among Colorado's teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the state's voters legalized marijuana in 2012, as new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.

Rates of marijuana use among Colorado's teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the state's voters legalized marijuana in 2012, as new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.

In 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths had used marijuana in the past 30 days. That rate is slightly lower than the national average and down slightly from the 25 percent who used marijuana in 2009, before legalization. The survey was based on a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado. (#1)

A major study just published in The Lancet Psychiatry showed no significant difference in adolescent marijuana use in the 21 states with medical marijuana laws. This 2015 study used over 24 years of data from over a million teenagers in 48 states. (#2)

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