July 25, 2022

A five-year study to evaluate the long-term impacts of legalizing nonmedical marijuana on teens, young adults and parents received more than $3 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The project is led by principal investigator Jennifer Bailey, assistant director of the UW School of Social Work’s Social Development Research Group.


Nonmedical marijuana is now legal in 18 states. Most studies that focus on understanding the impact of legalization on marijuana use cover at most three years. The new SDRG study extends the research time frame to 12 years.


Scientists hope to better understand the evolving impact of legalization on marijuana use as well as on alcohol and nicotine use, with or without marijuana. In addition, the study will examine whether the consequences of using marijuana have changed since the drug was legalized.


The new project continues the work begun two decades ago by SDRG as part of a long-term research project called the Seattle Social Development Project – The Intergenerational Project. This multi-stage study examined the effects of legalizing marijuana use on both youth and parents, collecting seven years of pre-legalization data (2002-2011) and three years post-legalization (2015-2017). An additional three years of data (2022-2024) will compare marijuana and other drug use before and after legalization.