The percentage of young people who believe that they can readily access marijuana has fallen significantly since 2002, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
A team of investigators from Boston University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Carolina, and St. Louis University examined trends in perceived cannabis access among adolescents for the years 2002 to 2015.
Authors reported: “[W]e observed a 27 percent overall reduction in the relative proportion of adolescents ages 12 to 17 and a 42 percent reduction among those ages 12 to 14 reporting that it would be ‘very easy’ to obtain marijuana. This pattern was uniformly observed among youth in all sociodemographic subgroups.”
They concluded, “Despite the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in some states, our findings suggest that … perceptions that marijuana would be very easy to obtain are on the decline among American youth.”
The new data is consistent with figures published last year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported, “From 2002 to 2014, … perceived availability [of marijuana] decreased by 13 percent among persons aged 12–17 years and by three percent among persons aged 18?25 years [old].”
An abstract of the study, “Trends in perceived access to marijuana among adolescents in the United States: 2002-2015,” is online here.