What happened in Washington state after voters legalized recreational marijuana
The nation’s first recreational marijuana shop opened nearly three years ago in Colorado. Since then, a growing body of research has shown that the availability of recreational marijuana — in Colorado and elsewhere — is having little to no effect on teens’ propensity to smoke weed.
That’s the conclusion, at least, of the official statistics out of Colorado through 2015. It’s what federal data shows nationwide through this year. And it’s also backed up by other federal surveys of drug use in the states where marijuana is legal.
The data on this point has been consistent enough that longtime skeptics of the merits of marijuana legalization, like Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are expressing surprise at the findings. “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up,” Volkow told U.S. News and World Report earlier this month. “But it hasn’t gone up.”