The data is in and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the impacts of commercial marijuana industry are even worse than we thought, particularly for America’s young people. A new report released by Smart Approaches to Marijuana shows the reality in "pot-legal states" paints a vastly different picture than the common sales pitch of the industry and supporters of legalization.
The marijuana industry, which spent billions to lobby elected officials and bankroll legalization referendum campaigns, is following the playbook pioneered by Big Tobacco. They recognize that the road to big profits runs through the heaviest users. As such, they have increased potency of the drug by more than four times since 1998, hoping to hook kids while they are young and vulnerable. The numbers show that it’s working.
Usage rates have reached record highs among those who are most vulnerable to marijuana’s long-term health effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warned, "Past-year, past-month, and daily marijuana use (use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days) reached the highest levels ever recorded" among those aged 19 to 30. The percentage of 8th, 10th and 12th graders who used marijuana daily has more than tripled between 1991 and 2020.