Cannabis Legalization Did Not Increase Teen Use

drug use, cannabis teens

A concern among many parents is that their child will experiment with drugs. And, in particular, they wonder if their child will ever engage in the readily available cannabis. These concerns were heightened with the passage of Washington Initiative 502, which legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults over 21 years old. But, were their concerns realized?

A Look Back

First, let’s remember back to when we were in those angsty teenage years. If you had any social life, even if it was occasional, you have personally been at a party or were hanging around town or were driving to the movies when a friend, or maybe a friend of a friend, pulled out a joint and asked if you wanted to get high. Maybe you partook. Maybe you didn’t? Maybe you thought of what your parents would think? Maybe you didn’t give a second thought to what they might think because, hey, it’s your life and you can do whatever you want. You’re basically an adult. Or, maybe you were the friend of a friend offering the weed.

These scenarios are playing out all across America, in cannabis legal states and otherwise, right this very moment.

And so what if you decided to partake? Why are parents always so melodramatic and overprotective?

The Science

While we’d like to think our parents just didn’t want us to get caught with an illicit substance that, they thought, would get us tossed in jail or, more likely, stuck with a ridiculously large fine and mandatory AA meeting participation, there is more logic to the concerned parental. (Parents, this is when you should listen most.)

There is science that backs illogical responses and reactions by teenagers. You might think you’re in control and practically an adult when you’re 17. You might even act more mature than your peers. But, are you?

Scientists used to think the brain was basically done forming before high school. But, they were way wrong. Instead, it’s now been confirmed over and over again that the prefrontal cortex still isn’t fully functioning – and this is a major deal.

So, what is the prefrontal cortex? Well, it’s a part of the brain that is right behind your forehead and acts as the CEO of the brain. It is responsible for all sorts of things including memory, planning, organization, and mood. As it forms, teenagers will naturally become better at reasoning, impulse control, and judging the safety of situations. Ultimately, while cannabis is rather safe, the overall situation may not be and a teen’s brain may or may not process this; a nightmare parent scenario.

Additionally, a teen is more susceptible to addiction than an adult. While it’s shown that cannabis itself is not addictive, behaviors are – hence marijuana use disorder. This is four to seven times more likely is people who start consuming cannabis before age 18.

Similarly, studies confirm that a teenager who smokes cannabis will show cognitive defects even days after use. Alternately, adults will return to their baseline much faster. This can easily result in poor test performance after a weekend of cannabis consumption for those whose brains are literally not yet fully formed.

The Data

So, should parents be concerned? Maybe the answer is yes. But, will cannabis legalization increase teen cannabis use? Well, we finally have the answer.

In 2016, more than 230,000 Washington students in grades 8-12, representing all 39 counties, 236 school districts, and over 1,000 schools participated in the Healthy Youth Survey. Here are the results:

These students admitted to marijuana use in the last 30 days:

  • 6% of 8th graders
  • 17% of 10th graders
  • 26% of 12th graders

While that might be alarming to parents, only half of the students consumed cannabis on six or more days in that month. Additionally, these statistics indicate that numbers have remained steady, rather than increasing over the years.

However, there are other areas where education is needed and, at Mary Jane’s House of Grass,  we encourage this open dialogue. Just like alcohol, we agree that cannabis use is a privilege that comes with age and, more importantly, full brain development.

One area that is changing is 8th graders perceived risks associated with cannabis. While cannabis has exponential benefits for adults, as discussed above there are specific scientific reasons teens should not yet engage.

 

While 53% of 8th graders understood the risk, only 48% recognized these effects in 2016. Today, about one in five 8th graders, one in three 10th graders, and 50% of 12th graders perceive no to slight risk associated with regular cannabis use.

However, the questions must also be asked, how was survey question presented. For adults there is little to no risk associated with marijuana use, while the use for teenagers does actually alter their minds, and for multiple days after consumption.

Ultimately, this is what the data is telling us:

  • Cannabis among teenagers remains steady.
  • Education may be needed to ensure teenagers recognize the risks specific to them.

The Outcome

At Mary Jane’s House of Grass, we encourage recreational cannabis experimentation for adults over 21 years old. We have seen the benefits ourselves and for our customers. We know that for those whose brain is fully formed, cannabis can relieve insomnia, pain, depression, nausea and many more conditions. We also know it’s a great de-stressor and sometimes it’s just plain ol’ fun!

However, as a member of the Washington community, we want to encourage safe, legal use and discourage teenage experimentation. With that said, we know that teens will experiment and for this reason, we strongly encourage parents to develop an open dialogue with their children starting from a young age, just as one does with alcohol.

Teens aren’t going to innately know that while cannabis is beneficial for adults, it can have proven negative effects on the younger forming mind. We want the next generation to flourish and for that reason, we discourage cannabis use and encourage dialogue and education.

To learn more about how to engage in an open dialogue with your teenager, visit www.starttalkingnow.org and www.learnaboutmarijuanawa.org.

 

Mary Jane’s House of Grass is located in Vancouver, WA. Stop by some time for a visit.  

Have a Dank Thanksgiving with These Strains

Thanksgiving turkey, Happy Danksgiving

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? I mean, what’s not to love? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, casserole, pumpkin pie, oh my. As much as we love the food, friends and family aspects of Thanksgiving, there can be some special issues that arise from the holiday. Here’s some of our top favorite strains and product recommendations to help get you through Thanksgiving, and all the upcoming holidays, to make them, well… dank.

Eating Lots

Get your “eatin’ pants” out for this one! Our favorite strains to help you get your eat on this Thanksgiving are a couple of classics; Girl Scout Cookies – a popular hybrid for it’s balanced effects. Cinex (we highly recommend Heavenly Buds‘ version) – a great sativa that will keep your head in the conversation and get you in a munchie mood.

Relaxing

If you’re not hosting, chances are you’re gathering for a nice relaxing day with loved ones. Our recommendations for extra relaxation and couch melting body highs are Blackberry Kush and Granddaddy Purple.

Football Viewing

Cheer your team to victory on Turkey Day with the classic sativa leaning hybrid, Dutch Treat. We love this one for the cerebral effects and lack of body effects or couch lock. It’s uplifting and slightly euphoric, so great for keeping your cool even when the opposing team scores and your uncle cheers.

Cleanup

If you’re the unlucky person left with the insurmountable cleanup task, we’ve got you covered. To help you power through, give you a lifting energy, and motivate you to get the job done, we recommend Pineapple Express or Jack Wreck.

Difficult Relatives

We love our families, right? Right? OK. Sometimes family is hard to take all at once. Don’t worry, we got you. We love Legal Beverage’s Rainier Cherry tonic for a really uplifting, euphoric feeling that can help you tackle even the most irritating relatives with a smile. It’ll make you look like a champ for handling three hours of Uncle Mert’s war stories with ease. You’re welcome.

Be it with friends or family or both, we at Mary Jane’s House of Grass wish you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Please consume responsibly.

Legal Cannabis Is Stimulating the Economy

economy stimulating cannabis money

It’s no surprise that cannabis is a successful business. It may, however, be a shock to learn that in Oregon alone the recreational cannabis industry brought in $1.2 billion in 2016 alone. To say that cannabis is a booming economic industry is saying it lightly.

“Cannabis is a job-creation machine,” Oregon economist Beau Whitney told Marijuana.com. “On a national basis, the $50 billion cannabis market is essentially the equivalent to the U.S. wine market ($55 billion).” In fact, over 900 businesses were licensed in Oregon in the last year, and 1,225 applicants wait approval. That’s 2,142 recreational cannabis businesses in Oregon alone.

Similarly, in Washington there are over 735 recreationally licensed marijuana businesses operating in the state of Washington, including Mary Jane’s House of Grass. That compares to 559 Starbucks locations statewide. Of the licensed businesses, 58% are processors and producers, while 23% are retail locations. And, with so many retail locations, 90% of the population lives within ten miles of a cannabis store. However, between strict location laws and residential approval, it is a challenge for a store to begin operation. This ongoing discussion helps keep cannabis approval ratings high.

In addition to monetary value, cannabis is also adding to the job sector as around 300,000 jobs in the U.S. are currently related to this industry, with the ability to rise to more than one million as states legalize consumption, according to Whitney. This is a drastic boom comparatively to education where 105,000 jobs were created last year and construction, where 219,000 were adding, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

And, cannabis is sure to grow in some of the fastest growing cities where the housing market is booming, like Portland and Vancouver. In Vancouver, the price per square foot rose over 11% to $185 and the average price for a home was up to $297,000, according to Trulia. Similarly in Portland, Oregon, where there is a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers, the prices of homes continues to increase.

“Inventory in the ballpark of $300,000 is rapidly disappearing as prices far outpace wages, a scenario exacerbated by the continuing fallout of a homebuilding draught,” as stated in an article on Oregonlive.com, as well as “the region’s surging population and the tendency of current homeowners to stay put instead of move up.”

In addition to creating jobs and putting money back into the economy, cannabis funds are contributing positively to the community. According to an article in thenewstribune.com, in the next two years, Washington anticipates raking in $730 million. And, 60% is slated to go toward public health programs, including Medicaid, substance abuse prevention efforts, and health centers. However, some Washington lawmakers, including Senator Ann Rivers, would like some of the funds go toward elementary schools, whose budget continues to drop.

While other politicians, like House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, thinks the money should go to healthcare as stated in Initiative 502 that legalized recreational marijuana in Washington, this is a good problem to have.

“We can’t ignore public health or access to health care,” said Sullivan, “The initiative that passed dedicated that money to those causes.” However, with marijuana expected to rise $75 million between the state’s next two budget cycles, maybe the law should expand to fund even more public resources provided by the State of Washington.

“Marijuana isn’t our solution to education funding,” said Senator John Braun. “It helps us build a stable and balanced budget, but it’s not a panacea that fixes all our problems,” he added.

 

And, these positive results continue to benefits future states looking to add legalization bills and will eventually help to convince the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance list and officially back states that enable pro cannabis laws.

In addition to monetary figures, it was found that in 2015 – the most recent data available – that over 29 million grams of cannabis were produced in the State of Washington. This is equal to allowing all residents, regardless of age, to receive four grams. And production is only expected to rise.

As loose cannabis sales continue to rise, so do edibles. In 2015, over 731,000 units of edibles were sold and the data continue to show a rise each month since legalization. The top cannabis-infused product has been baked goods like cookies and brownies at 35%, following by general desserts like chocolate, caramels, and brittle at 33%.

 

Since legalization, Colorado has discovered that cannabis is a stronger economic driver than 90% if its industries. This, we’re learning, is similar in other locations where recreational legalization has come to pass. In fact, it was this realization that spurred passage in places including Washington and Oregon.

Today, cannabis is a numbers game. As medical research continues to discover the many benefits associated with cannabis – improved mood and sleep; decreased pain, anxiety, depression – and it continues to add jobs and funds in states where medical and recreational cannabis is legal, it’s become a game-changer.

Ultimately, the future of cannabis is shifting. Visiting a marijuana dispensary in Vancouver is becoming more normalized and it’s contributing to the economy in ways so dramatic they were unforeseeable. The vast sales show how acceptable cannabis is becoming and at Mary Jane’s House of Grass, your marijuana dispensary in Vancouver, we couldn’t be more delighted.

We’ve seen first hand and heard through our customers the wonderful benefits cannabis has contributed to their lives. We recognize the high demand for quality products our customers expect and receive from us. We know there is a growing future for this industry and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

There is a marijuana dispensary in Vancouver on every other corner, but with high demand and room for more, we’re glad to be apart of your community and can’t wait until you visit again.