In December of 2012, Washington became the first U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana and the first to allow recreational marijuana sales with the passage of Initiative 502.
Medical Marijuana had been legally available in the state since 1998.
Patients In Salem Line Up For Marijuana
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Currently, under state law, (Not federal law) cannabis is legal for medical purposes and for any purpose by adults over 21.

Self Serving Pro-Pot Arguments

The Yakima City Council at the time voted to ban locating recreational pot shops in city limits.  One of the argument given for the ban was that introducing more marijuana into the city would result in more kids being exposed to the drug.  Pot shop proponents were adamant that wouldn't happen.  "It's just for adults" they argued.  "Kids can't buy it," they said.  "Don't be ridiculous," they said.
The ACLU vs Yakima redistricting lawsuit resulted in a change of council and a more liberal approach to pot.  The ban was dropped and the pot shops popped up.
So what has happened with minors and pot in the years since, in legal pot states across the nation?
Cannabis Supporters Hope For Legalization
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Common Sense and Logic Prevail On Pot Use By Minors

The legalization of marijuana for Washington state adults may be thwarting a steady downward trend in teen marijuana use, according to new research from the University of Washington.

The longitudinal study of more than 230 teens and young adults finds that teens may be more likely to use marijuana following legalization — with the proliferation of stores and increasing adult use of the drug — than they otherwise would have been.

 

Nationwide Threat To Teens Increases In Pot States

The United Press International reports on a University of California study of 6,900 youths and 15,000 adults that found in states where recreational cannabis use was legal for adults, young people aged 12-20 were more likely to use pot.   Adults were also more likely to use cannabis.
The detrimental health effects associated with cannabis use at a young age include impaired lung function, cardiovascular disease, and adverse effects on mental health.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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Hard Data Could Make For Better Policy

Yuyan Shi, an associate professor at UC San Diego School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.

.Our findings provide useful information to policymakers and public health practitioners interested in understanding the consequences of legalizing recreational cannabis...It's especially concerning that increased cannabis use occurs among young people because of the detrimental health effects.

The findings were published online in the May 26 issue of Addiction. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on marijuana and public health.

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