Majority of teens report using cannabis less frequently after legalization

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A new study led by a professor at the WSU College of Nursing has revealed some interesting statistics on teen cannabis consumption.

Data gleaned from the study, led by Assistant Professor Janessa Graves, indicated how just one group of teens used cannabis more often after the legalization of retail sales in Washington. People included in that particular group were high school seniors who work 11+ hours on a weekly basis.

The study also showed how cannabis consumption dropped among 8th and 10th graders after legalization had rolled out. It also plummeted among 12th graders who were not in employment, whereas the number of cannabis-consuming high school seniors who work fewer than 11 hours per week didn’t really change after legalization.

Working teens use weed more often than non-working teens

(Pictured) WSU College of Nursing Assistant Professor Janessa Graves

Washington approved the legalization of cannabis for retail sales before many other states, with adult-use weed shops opening their doors in mid-2014.

The authors of this WSU College of Nursing study wanted to pinpoint whether or not cannabis legalization in Washington influenced the rates of cannabis consumption among 8th, 10th and 12th graders who work in jobs, non-inclusive of household chores, babysitting or yard work.

To conduct the study, data was gleaned from Washington’s biennial Healthy Youth Survey in 2010 and 2016. Regardless of a student’s grade, the results showed how individuals who worked for 11+ hours every week reported higher rates of cannabis consumption than those who weren’t employed.

After legalization was enacted in Washington, 4.8 percent of non-working 8th graders admitted to using weed within the last 30 days, whereas 20.8 percent of working 8th graders did.

Researchers discovered that in 2016, 13.9 percent of 10th graders reported using cannabis within the last 30 days. The 10th graders who worked for at least 11 hours per week seemed to be the biggest fans of the green plant, with 33.2 percent of them reportedly having used weed within the last 30 days.

For 12th graders, a similar pattern in cannabis consumption is apparent, with employed individuals using weed more frequently than their non-working peers. In fact, 20.5 percent of non-working 12th graders used cannabis, versus 36.7 percent of the working 12th graders.

Kids who work more often use substances, that’s not a shock,” Graves said, touching upon the fact that other studies have shown similar results. Perhaps employers will take note of this study, which prompts employers to impose zero-tolerance policies for any adult employee caught providing/endorsing substances to  fellow employees.

You can find a detailed overview of the research on cannabis use and employment in the Journal of Adolescent Health.