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Research Finds Legalizing Recreational Cannabis Increases its Usage

In states where it's legal, usage has increased at least 20 percent

People in U.S. states that legalized recreational cannabis use it 20 percent more frequently than those in states that didn’t legalize it, a study published Thursday in the journal Addiction has suggested.

Researchers interviewed 3,421 participants who were sampled from the University of Colorado Boulder Center for Antisocial Drug Dependence and the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research in Minneapolis about their cannabis usage at two different points: before 2014, when it was illegal to sell recreational cannabis, and after 2014, when it became legal to sell in Colorado. Only medical cannabis was legal in Minnesota during the post-2014 portion of the study.

The participants, many of whom were born in Colorado and Minnesota but had since relocated, were surveyed pre- and post-2014 on how many days they used cannabis in the last six months, and scientists initially found there was about a 24 percent increase in usage in states that legalized recreational cannabis compared with ones that did not. Based on where respondents were living at the time of the surveys, nearly every state was represented, along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

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