A recent study which analyzed the impact of cannabis regulation on consumption, criminality and law enforcement, and health, among others has claimed that legalization of marijuana leads to an increase in its consumption.
The study that focused on five countries, including the United States (Colorado and Washington State) Uruguay, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands, found that Colorado and Washington, the first U.S. states to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, continued to report high prevalence of marijuana use among its teenagers. The pot use registered a substantial increase in individuals aged over 25, said the study, conducted by researchers from France’s National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice in collaboration with the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
Significantly, the increased marijuana use was associated with more health problems. According to the study, the higher consumption of the drug also led to a significant increase in the number of hospitalizations involving patients with cannabis poisoning in Colorado and Washington.
The research also highlighted an economic side of the marijuana use in the two American states. It was found that the sales of recreational cannabis grew to a whopping $1 billion a year in each state while producing several thousand jobs post legalization. Moreover, the tax revenues related to recreational cannabis exceeded the amount collected as tobacco taxes, the study revealed.
Current status of marijuana legalization in US
Though the federal government prohibits cannabis, eight American states, along with the District of Columbia, allow its cultivation, sale, possession and recreational use for individuals aged 21 and above. Moreover, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, including treatment of cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis patients.
In all the states that have legalized cannabis, the use and purchase is restricted up to an ounce of cannabis (28.4 grams) for adults aged 21 years and above. In Colorado, the limit has been upgraded to 1 ounce for non-residents. While private use of cannabis is allowed, using it in public places is prohibited and is subjected to fine.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), marijuana had the highest new users in 2016. Nearly 2.6 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2016 tried marijuana for the first time in the past year, while 44.7 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported a “fairly easy” access to the drug. However, addiction to harmful drugs like cannabis can be treated with timely medical intervention. If a person is grappling with substance abuse, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed drug treatment rehab center.
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