A majority of states now allow the use of medical cannabis, and 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for those over the age of 21, although it is illegal on the federal level. Each state has its own rules for recreational use and the amount you can buy or grow, and some states have decriminalized carrying small amounts of marijuana. Amid the recent news of Canada’s pending landmark legalization, more states are considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Many ask: Will increased legalization of marijuana escalate adolescent substance abuse?
We have a drug crisis not only because drugs are so easy for young people to get, but also because risk-taking is part of teenage life. The opioid crisis affects all ages, but for teens, drug use frequently begins early with alcohol or marijuana. One could say that simply being a teen is a core part of the problem. Being pressured by peers, experimenting and doing what they know they shouldn’t can readily lead to smoking cigarettes, trying marijuana or ingesting another addictive, illegal and dangerous substance. Equally worrisome is the effect that extensive or prolonged marijuana use can have on academics, social life, sleep and family relationships