Seeking safety: a focus group study of young adults’ cannabis-related attitudes, and behavior in a state with legalized recreational cannabis.
Harm Reduct J. 2020 Nov 26;17(1):92
Authors: Amroussia N, Watanabe M, Pearson JL
BACKGROUND: Only July 1, 2017, Nevada became the fifth US state to allow the legal sale of recreational cannabis products for adults ages of 21 and over. This study investigates young adults’ cannabis-related attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors in a state where recreational and medical cannabis use was recently legalized.
METHODS: We conducted 8 focus groups stratified by cannabis use (regular users, occasional users, and nonusers) with 32 college students ages 18 to 24. Data were analyzed using the inductive qualitative thematic analysis method.
RESULTS: Four themes emerged during analyses: « sort of legal, » « mitigating harm through legalization, » « Increasing acceptance, » and « seeking safety when purchasing cannabis. » Despite their limited knowledge of cannabis regulation, the majority of the participants supported recreational cannabis legalization from a harm reduction perspective. Most participants did not believe that cannabis legalization had affected their use behavior. However, participants, especially cannabis users, perceived that recreational cannabis legalization created a context where cannabis use was legally, socially, and behaviorally « safer » than in an illegal context, even for those below the legal age of sale.
CONCLUSIONS: Most studies focus on the role of perceived health risk on cannabis use. If there are population-level long-term effects of recreational cannabis legalization on use behavior, findings suggest that they will be mediated by the perceived legal, social, and behavioral risk of using cannabis.
PMID: 33243280 [PubMed – in process]
Source: ncbi 2