leafless trees outside rhode island state house

According to a recent survey conducted in Rhode Island, youth marijuana use has declined in 2022, despite the state’s legalization of recreational cannabis and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The survey, conducted by the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), aimed to assess the impact of marijuana legalization on youth consumption patterns. It polled 22,000 high school students.

Contrary to concerns that legalization would lead to increased marijuana use among young people, the survey found that the percentage of youth reporting marijuana use in the past 30 days decreased from 20% in 2021 to 15% in 2022. 

This decline suggests that legalization alone does not necessarily result in higher rates of youth marijuana consumption. The survey also examined the impact of COVID-19 restrictions being lifted on youth marijuana use.

Despite the easing of pandemic-related measures, the percentage of youth reporting marijuana use in the past 30 days continued to decline.

In 2020, 28% of youth reported using marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 23% in 2022. These findings challenge the assumption that the removal of COVID-19 restrictions would lead to an increase in youth marijuana use. Furthermore, the survey revealed that the perception of harm associated with marijuana use among youth has increased.

The findings challenge the assumption that legalization and the removal of pandemic-related measures would lead to increased youth marijuana consumption. Instead, the survey suggests that factors such as educational efforts, public health campaigns, and the perception of harm associated with marijuana use may play a significant role in shaping youth consumption patterns. Addressing the sources of marijuana for youth, the survey emphasizes the importance of addressing social networks and family dynamics in preventing youth marijuana use. Additionally, the survey highlights the need for targeted interventions and support for communities disproportionately affected by substance use, particularly Black and Hispanic youth. These findings provide valuable insights for policymakers, educators, and public health officials as they continue to navigate the complex landscape of marijuana legalization and youth substance use prevention. By understanding the factors influencing youth consumption patterns, stakeholders can develop evidence-based strategies to effectively address and reduce youth marijuana use. It is crucial to continue monitoring youth marijuana use trends and conducting research to inform evidence-based policies and interventions. By doing so, we can ensure the well-being and health of our youth while also promoting responsible cannabis use in legalized states.

By Kenny Hofmann

Kenny is a staff writer and avid psychedelics explorer.