The Moderating Role of Marijuana Policies on the Association Between Social Bonds and Marijuana Use



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Over the past century, there have been ongoing changes in marijuana policies, leading to evolving attitude towards its use and an increase in adolescent use (Goodwin et al., 2021; Hall & Weier, 2015; Hopfer, 2014; Martins et al., 2021; Wilkinson et al., 2016). This increase in usage poses risks, as it can adversely affect the physical and mental health of adolescents by hindering brain development and increasing the likelihood of mental health disorders. With the growing prevalence of adolescent marijuana use amid legalization efforts, it becomes crucial to understand the factors safeguarding them from involvement in marijuana use. Consistent criminological research indicates that adolescents with strong social bonds, such as strong parental attachment and commitment to school, exhibit lower tendencies towards substance use and delinquency (Bond et al., 2007; Dornbusch et al., 2001; Fairbairn et al., 2018; Hahlbeck & Vito, 2021; Hwang & Akers, 2017). However, what remains uncertain is whether the increased accessibility of marijuana undermines the effectiveness of these protective factors against marijuana use and delinquency. Therefore, this study employs a nationally representative sample of adolescents from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to investigate whether state-level medical marijuana policies and perceptions of state-level marijuana possession penalties serve as moderators in the relationship between social bonds and marijuana use among adolescents.



Adolescent marijuana use, Social Bonds, Marijuana policies