Adolescents' Marijuana Use Following Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Alaska and Hawaii

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2022 Jan;34(1):65-71. doi: 10.1177/10105395211044917. Epub 2021 Sep 11.


Alaska and Hawaii, the only two noncontiguous states in the United States, have different marijuana policy environments. Alaska enacted recreational marijuana legalization (RML) in 2014, whereas recreational marijuana is still illegal in Hawaii. This study analyzed how RML affects adolescents' marijuana use (MU) by comparing two states. We used data from 2 states (Alaska and Hawaii) from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2009 to 2019 years (N = 35 467). The trends of lifetime MU and current MU were examined. Using difference-in-differences analysis models, this study investigated whether RML increased lifetime and current MU in Alaska compared with Hawaii after adjusting for socioeconomic characteristics. Both lifetime and current MU prevalence among adolescents in Alaska increased after RML, while both rates in Hawaii gradually decreased. The rate of lifetime MU in Alaska was significantly increased after RML (odds ratio [OR] = 1.29) compared with Hawaii. Similarly, the current MU among adolescents in Alaska was significantly increased compared with that in Hawaii (OR = 1.34). Both lifetime and current MU were increased following RML in Alaska, suggesting that RML may affect the increase of MU among adolescents.

Keywords: adolescents; current marijuana use; lifetime marijuana use; recreational marijuana legalization.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Cannabis*
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Marijuana Use* / epidemiology
  • United States