Youth use of pot and cannabis-abuse treatment did not increase after Washington’s legalization of marijuana for grown-ups, according to analysis by a state think tank. But more study is required before more sweeping conclusions can be made.
Youth use of pot and cannabis-abuse treatment admissions have not increased in Washington since marijuana was legalized, according to a new analysis by the state Legislature’s think tank.
Under Initiative 502, the state’s legal-pot law, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) is required to conduct periodic cost-benefit analyses of legalization on issues ranging from drugged-driving to prenatal use of marijuana.
One of those reports was due Friday after three years of legal sales. But the report was limited in scope to just a few impacts — including the degree of youth use and adult use, treatment admissions and criminal convictions.
“In my overall appraisal, there’s not much evidence I-502 has caused changes in the outcomes we looked at,” said Adam Darnell, the lead researcher and author of the WSIPP report. One exception is that researchers found adults consumed more pot in parts of the state with higher per capita sales, Darnell said.
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The findings represent a “snapshot of our progress to date and are an intermediate step towards the ultimate cost-benefit analysis of I-502,” the report states. “Results may change as implementation of the law progresses and more outcome data become available.”
The report arrives shortly after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized implementation of legal pot in Washington. Sessions’ critique was panned by Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who said it was based on outdated information and faulty conclusions. Inslee and Ferguson have said they want to meet with Sessions to help him understand Washington regulations and safeguards.
The think tank also has published details about jobs and wages in the legal pot industry that were separate from the analysis published Friday.
At the end of last year, the industry accounted for the equivalent of 6,227 full-time jobs, according to WSIPP, whose mission is to provide nonpartisan practical research. Wages paid from 2014, when the first businesses were licensed, through 2016 totaled $286 million.
The average hourly wage stood at $16.45 but that was elevated by a few…