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While cannabis use rises, legalization is only marginally responsible

(FinancialPress) — Cannabis consumption has been on the rise in the United States since 2005, but the legalization wave may not be responsible for the change, as per a new study by William Kerr and the Public Health Institute.

The report discloses that marijuana consumption among men in America has risen to 14.7% since the early 2000s. When researchers moved the timespan to begin at 1984 and end in 2015, they found that cannabis use by women doubled up from 5.5% to 10.6%.

As of 2015, 12.9% of all American adults reported regular marijuana use. Ten years before that, the percentage stood at 6.7%.

While since 2012 nine more states have joined the legalization wave, and a grand total of 30 states have made medical marijuana use legal, the study puts little weight on that for the rise. Researchers perceive that availability of legal cannabis hasn‘t been a major factor as far as increase in use goes.

“Results …did not show significant increases in use related to medicinal marijuana legislation… It appears that the passage of these policies reflects changing attitudes toward marijuana use, rather than the other way around.”

William Kerr statement

The aging of the Baby Boom generation was also showcased in the results, as people aged 50-59 also saw a major increase in marijuana use. With a starting timeframe of 2005, men in that age group have reported a 2,220% rise in use (.5% to 11.6%). The women, on their part, saw a rise of 7,200% (0.1% to 7.3%). Previous generations in that age frame were much more conservative on drug use, unlike the aforementioned Boomers.

“Results indicate that period effects are the main driver of rising marijuana use prevalence. Models including indicators of medical and recreational marijuana policies do not find any significant positive impacts.

The steep rise in marijuana use in the United States since 2005 occurred across the population and is attributable to general period effects not specifically linked to the liberalization of marijuana policies in some states.“

-W. Kerr study results

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