By Ariadne Rivera-Aguirre, Alvaro Castillo-Carniglia, Hannah S. Laqueur, Kara E. Rudolph, Silva S. Martins, Jessica Ramírez, Rosario Queirolo, Magdalena Cerdá
In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize and regulate the production and distribution of cannabis for recreational use. We measured whether Uruguay’s non-commercial model of recreational cannabis legalization was associated with changes in the prevalence of risky and frequent cannabis use among secondary school students.
What was found was a decrease in past-year and past-month use following enactment or implementation. Among students ages 18-21, post-enactment, we observed a transitory increase in 2014 that decreased thereafter for: any risky use among those who reported past-year use, frequent use in the full sample and frequent use among those who reported past-month use.
Therefore it can be concluded that the legalization of recreational cannabis in Uruguay was not associated with overall increases in either past-year/past-month cannabis use or with multi-year changes in any risky and frequent cannabis use among young people.