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Uruguay: Research Finds That Youth Cannabis Use Did Not Rise Following Legalization

One of the most popular talking points for cannabis prohibitionists is the claim that if cannabis is legalized for adult use that it will result in a spike in cannabis use by younger people. The ‘what about the children?’ strategy has been in use for many decades by citizens and lawmakers that oppose cannabis reform in virtually every country.

Uruguay is one of two countries to have implemented an adult-use cannabis legalization law, with the other being Canada. Uruguay was the first out of the two, and insightful data is coming out of Uruguay regarding society and cannabis. Recently researchers released the results of a study in which self-reported youth consumption data following legalization in Uruguay was analyzed. Below are some of the study’s findings, per excerpts from La Diaria Salud:

On Monday, the National Drug Board presented the results of the VIII National Survey on Drug Use in Secondary School Students , which showed that marijuana use in middle school students did not increase between 2016 and 2018.

Nor did it find significant changes in the perception of the risk of frequent use, the ease of access, the prevalence of consumption per year and per month. ”The passage of the law did not lead to a greater increase in marijuana use among middle school students,” he reaffirmed.

This is encouraging news for fans of sensible cannabis laws. If there’s one thing that responsible cannabis supporters and cannabis opponents can both agree on, adult-use cannabis should be kept away from children.

Cannabis legalization and regulation is a much better option than prohibition because prohibition obviously does not eliminate use occurring, and legalization provides for conversations and education campaigns aimed at young people that are based in actual reality, and thus much more likely to succeed.

The cannabis industry in Uruguay is built in a way that it will not be as big of a government revenue generator compared to Canada, however, there will still be ample opportunities for the government to harness what public revenue-generating options there may be available, and use any revenues possible to help educate citizens of all ages in Uruguay about cannabis.

That’s a far better option than seeing revenue going to organized crime operations that obviously provide zero public benefits.