Enactment of adult-use cannabis access laws is associated with decreasing rates of binge drinking by college students ages 21 or older, according to a study in Addictive Behaviors. Here’s the journal’s press release:

“Researchers affiliated with Oregon State University compared self-reported drug and alcohol use among nearly one million college students over a ten-year period (2008 to 2018). They reported that binge drinking prevalence among those between the ages of 21 and 26 fell by ten percent in jurisdictions where adult-use cannabis access was regulated as compared to other states. Investigators reported no increase in the use of any controlled substances other than marijuana, except for the use of sedatives by those under the age of 21.

“Authors concluded: ‘[F]or students ages 21 years and over, binge drinking decreased following RML (recreational marijuana legalization). … We speculate that legalizing recreational marijuana use may temper this [increased alcohol use by minors after they reach the legal drinking age] effect, such that college students over the age of 21 who otherwise would have engaged in binge drinking continue using marijuana instead. … [A] substitution effect of RML on college students’ binge drinking could have important public health implications.’

The authors also reported on nicotine, prescription opioid and other drug use after recreational marijuana legalization.

Retro message

In his landmark paper, Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol, foresaw this harm-reduction impact. The medical establishment never saw, let alone acknowledged, the evidence he presented. Wouldn’t enabling college students younger than 21 to use marijuana legally would have a similar impact? Why are no “reform activists” demanding legal access for the Under-21s? They claimed the 2010 “Cole Memo” as their victory, allowing the neoprobes to retreat and hold the line. See “Marijuana and the Developing Brain.