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Medical Marijuana's Increased Availability Does Not Entice Teens to Toke up, Study Finds

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Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 7:08 AM

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There's been a lot of fear about the wide availability of medical marijuana in California serving as an enticement to teenagers to toke up.

One shop on the edge of Culver City was even closed down, and its owner was sentenced to a year behind bars, after authorities cracked down on his pot shop namely because he allegedly marketed his wares to nearby high schoolers.

But the question remains: Do underage folks in medical marijuana states tend to partake of this medicine?

The answer is no, according to a study released this week at the American Public Health Association's Annual meeting.

That conclusion applies to just one of America's 16 medical marijuana states. But it seems to speak volumes.

Esther Choo, an emergency doctor at Rhode Island Hospital, took a look at 32,570 teens in Rhode Island, where medical marijuana was made legal in 2006. For comparison they looked at usage dating back to 1997.

Choo:

Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana; however, additional research may follow future trends as medical marijuana in Rhode Island and other states becomes more widely used.

Makes sense. Despite the Starbucks-like retail environment for pot in L.A., dispensaries here are pretty strict about age limits.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]

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