While cannabis use in the U.S. has been on a sharp rise the last decade plus, studies like the one in the journal Addiction try to get to the root of why. Many people and entities have speculated that changes in law have emboldened the masses, however, this study conclusively showed no link between the rise in pro-pot policies across the states and increased use by Americans.
In its findings, the study states, "Results indicate that period effects are the main driver of rising marijuana use prevalence. Models including indicators of medical and recreational marijuana policies do not find any significant positive impacts."
In the study's conclusion, it wrapped up nicely with, "The steep rise in marijuana use in the United States since 2005 occurred across the population and is attributable to general period effects not specifically linked to the liberalization of marijuana policies in some states."
Period effects versus policy changes means that those opposed to marijuana are simply aging out or at least the ideology of reefer madness is in its throes. The times they are a 'changing, as Bob Dylan would warble.
Researchers from the Public Health Institute Alcohol Research Group pitted marijuana use against changes in state laws after having analyzed data from National Alcohol Surveys. Although 29 states and Washington D.C. have either medical or recreational laws in place at this point, the increased use of cannabis was based off societal effects, not policy changes.
It only makes sense. Policy changes occur with changing tides, and the societal tide change in how we view marijuana as a culture has become a mainstream phenomenon. The code 420 is beyond exposed, and not needed nearly so often. Now if only those with the power to change cannabis' status as Schedule I would, society could go forward with its new appreciation of pot.
This is also a great contributing argument for continued legalization. Not only is legalization in keeping with the national temperature, it's clearly not impacting youth or adult usage, so its prohibition is a very silly and sad thing indeed. Let's hope that if it is descheduled, prisoners can go free and the plant can be utilized by the society that loves it.
This article originally appeared on The Fresh Toast: a lifestyle and entertainment platform with heaping sides of cannabis--you can read more, here.