Researchers emphasize any move to legalize would need to be accompanied by appropriate public health resources
A clear majority of young people in Australia have never tried cannabis, but about one in seven would be open to giving it go if the plant was legalized, according to the results of a survey.
That was the finding of a recent study by researchers from the University of Queensland’s National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research and the School of Psychology, who considered poll data from 3,000-plus adolescents and young adults, according to the university.
The study found that 13 per cent of respondents aged 12 to 17 would try cannabis for the first time if it was legal, just slightly lower than the 15 per cent of 18- to 25-year-olds who reported they would do the same.
Of these respondents, 85 per cent of the adolescents and 59 per cent of the young adults had not consumed cannabis previously.
The willingness to try cannabis if legal was of concern to study lead Janni Leung, pointing out that openness could potentially translate to higher use.
Additionally, “young people who have used cannabis before expressed their intention to increase their use if it were allowed by law,” Leung added.
Recreational cannabis remains illegal federally in Australia. Canberra, the capital city of Australia, recently bucked the trend and the federal rules by opting to move forward with legalization.
If legalization does move forward, there is for accompanying “public health resources to discourage use during adolescence and inform the public about the risks of regular cannabis use,” Leung emphasized.
“This data could be used to inform and plan for public health interventions, treatment services, educational campaigns, and regulations needed for jurisdictions that have adopted or are considering legalizing cannabis for recreation use,” she added.
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