Some drug advocates try to argue that legalisation of marijuana will not result in an increase in use. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The most reliable survey on the prevalence of drug use among U.S. households is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). According to NSDUH data, in all jurisdictions with legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, though only personal use and growing is legal there, and Washington), past-month drug use among youth aged 12-17 continues to sit above the national average (NSDUH, 2016-2017). Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, has the highest rate of first-time marijuana use among youth (ages 12-17) and young adults (ages 18-25) (NSDUH State Estimates, 2016-2017).
The percentage of youth aged 12-17 years old using marijuana is declining in states where marijuana is not “legal,” unlike in “legal” states; in 2016/2017, the rate of past month 12-17-year-old marijuana use in “legal” states was 7.7%, versus 6.2% in non-legal states.1 (NSDUH State Reports 2016-2017). [Figure 2] The national rate of 18-to-25-year-old past month marijuana use is 21.5%. The rate for “legal” states, however, is much higher — 29.2%. The rate in non-legal states is close to the national average, standing at 20.8% (NSDUH, 2016-2017). Additionally, one recent study showed that longer duration of legalization and higher dispensary density was associated with increased use of vaping and edibles by 14-18-year-olds (Borodovsky, et al., 2017). Source: SAM
Often overlooked, the percentage of young adults (18-25-year-olds) reporting past-month marijuana use increased between 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 at a higher rate in “legal” states versus non-legal ones (NSDUH, 2016-2017). The national rate of 18-to-25-year-old past month marijuana use is 21.5%, while the rate for “legal” states is much higher – 29.2%. The rate in non-legal states is close to the national average, standing at 20.8% (NSDUH, 2016-2017). Source: SAM
AND EVEN IN PORTUGAL
Contrast that with Iceland – where drugs are still illegal.