Black Market Weed Is Growing Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal
A new study says illicit marijuana use and cannabis disorders increased alongside access to medical marijuana.
As states slowly start to legalize medical marijuana, a question that has remained unanswered is whether more access means more recreational use, too. A new study out today in JAMA Psychiatry says it does.
There are 29 states along with Washington, DC that now have medical marijuana laws on the books. And while a few studies have tried to determine how these laws affect illegal marijuana use, this new study is the first to use data collected prior to any medical marijuana laws to track changes in illegal use rates.
The researchers, led by Deborah Hasin, a Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University, looked at data collected in three national surveys on alcohol and drug use from 1991 to 2013.
Between the first and third surveys, the researchers found that illegal marijuana use increased more in the states that passed the laws compared to those that didn’t.
In states with medical marijuana laws, illegal marijuana use increased by 3.6 percent compared to a 2.2 percent increase in states without medical marijuana. Cannabis use disorders, as defined by the DSM IV, the American Psychiatric Association’s mental disorder manual, increased by 1.6 percent and 1.0 percent in states with and without medical marijuana laws, respectively.
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