Whenever any state plans to legalize adult-use marijuana, the first and foremost question that pops up in the minds of parents and lawmakers is- how will this move affect teens?
As responsible adults, we always fear for the younger generation taking up the wrong path especially at an age when they are too vulnerable to fall prey.
However, all such dubious thoughts can now be put aside as a study conducted by Washington State University has found that teen weed use has declined since Washington legalized adult-use cannabis.
Led by Washington State University College of Nursing Assistant Professor Janessa Graves, the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that use of weed dropped amongst almost all groups of high school and middle school students, except for only one group of teens- 12th graders who work.
The definition of ‘work’ though has been modified for the sake of research.
The researchers classified work as jobs other than yardwork, babysitting or household chores. They then used the information from the 2010 and 2016 Healthy Youth Survey conducted in the state.
When asked about the reason behind this finding, Janessa Graves told a leading science website that the answer was very simple. 12th graders who work are exposed earlier than their peers (who don’t work) to both the positive and negative influences of adults. In simple words, working teens engage in adult-like behaviors earlier.
Therefore, parents should always ensure that the environment where their teen kids are working is free from all such activities.
The study writers, including researchers from the University of Massachusetts, University of Colorado and the Oregon Health Authority, recommend that employers should consider advertising and enforcing zero-tolerance policies towards any adult worker who endorses or provides cannabis or any other substances to underage workers.
Notably, Washington became one of the first states to give a nod for recreational marijuana, with the first dispensaries opening in 2014.