WSU Study: Fewer Washington teens using marijuana post legalization
The legalization of marijuana in Washington state doesn’t appear to have convinced teenagers that pot is any cooler than it was before.
According to a new WSU study, marijuana use decreased significantly among 8th and 10th graders after legalization, and remained even for 12th graders (among those who work less than 11 hours a week at a job).
The element of work was a striking feature of the study. No matter what the grade — 8th, 10th, or 12th — those who had worked more than 11 hours a week tended to use marijuana more often than their jobless peers.
After legalization, 4.8 percent of non‑working 8th graders admitted to using pot in the previous 30 days, as opposed to 20.8 percent of their employed peers. With 10th graders, the difference was 13.9 percent versus 33.2 percent.
It was among 12th graders where the highest levels of marijuana use was seen, with 20.5 percent of non-working using marijuana in the last 30 days, and 36.7 percent of those working.
Washington legalized marijuana in 2012 and the first marijuana store opened in 2014.
The research was lead by WSU College of Nursing Assistant Professor Janessa Graves, and used data from the state’s biennial Healthy Youth Survey from 2010 and 2016.
“Kids who work more often use substances, that’s not a shock,” Graves told WSU News. The study notes that such teens tend to have more disposable income, and come into contact with other adults who may being using marijuana.
“Kids learn a lot by working, in terms of responsibility,” Graves said. “But there are also pretty good data showing that kids who work engage in adult‑like behaviors earlier. I would say this for any parent of working kids: It’s important to know the quality of management and supervision at your child’s job. Be thoughtful about the quality of a particular workplace.”