Fact Check #4

Marijuana is a controversial topic throughout the United States and the general consensus is that it is prevalent in the youth especially. While it increases in usage rate amongst teens, many states such as Alaska, California, and Colorado have decided to legalize the recreational drug version of marijuana. Notably, on June 2019, CNN published a report that recreational marijuana legalization had been tied to a decline in teens using pot. This study goes against many preconceived notions of the rise in marijuana use for the younger generation. CNN noted that the study claimed, “Laws that legalized recreational marijuana were associated with an 8% drop in the number of high schoolers who said they used marijuana in the last 30 days, and a 9% drop in the number who said they’d used at least 10 times in the last 30 days.” This report basically highlights the lower usage rates of marijuana since being legalized. In addition, it stands as the sample size for the national usage rate of marijuana users.

CNN is considered a lean-left media outlet because of their political affiliation with many democrats as well as their outward promotion of the democratic party. According to Allsides, a website that provides media-based ratings for over 600 different forms of media, notes that CNN is a lean-left media outlet because it follows an ideology, which states, “A belief that the role of government is to provide for its people, to end suffering and contribute to human prosperity”.  For example, Allsides claims that “We found CNN Web News has a tendency to include a lot of Opinion and Analysis without labeling it clearly as such until afterreaders click through to the full article. This means CNN displays Opinion-level content alongside hard news on the homepage, making it look like the Opinion pieces are objective, fact-based news.” CNN, by giving this option for viewers to voice their opinions, symbolizes CNN’s democratic or liberal policies.  

The CNN report cites the Journal of American Medical Association, or JAMA. According to Wikipedia, The Journal of the American Medical Association is a peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association. It publishes original research, reviews, and editorials covering all aspects of biomedicine”.  While JAMA shares data that supports the decreasing numbers of highschoolers using weed, it also says there is no correlation between recreational marijuana legalization and teen usage rates dropping. For example Jama found “ increased marijuana use among 8th and 10th graders after it was legalized for recreational use in Washington State. However, these authors found no evidence of an association between legalization and adolescent marijuana use in Colorado.” Dr. Mark Anderson, Dr. Benjamin Hansen and Dr. Daniel Rees concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to make a correlation between the legalization of medical marijuana and the marijuana use among youth. Due to the inconclusiveness from the data, CNN notes that, “The new study appears to contradict some separate state-level studies that suggest marijuana use among teens remains unchanged — instead of declining — following legalization.” 

The researchers of the study also wrote about the reasoning behind the availability of this data. According to the CNN article,  “it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.” In conclusion, the lack of data hinders the correlation between the legalized recreational marijuana and the usage of recreational marijuana by teenagers. 

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