Perceptions of Marijuana Decriminalization Among Young Sexual and Gender Minorities in Chicago: An Initial Measure Validation and Test of Longitudinal Associations with Use
Ethan Morgan, Christina Dyar, Christina S. Hayford, Sarah W. Whitton, Michael E. Newcomb, and Brian Mustanski
Background: There is a high rate of marijuana use among young sexual and gender minorities (SGM) and, as a result of recent state-level, fragmented marijuana laws, there is also likely high variability in their perceptions of marijuana decriminalization (PMD).
Methods: Data came from two cohorts of young SGM (aged 16–29) in Chicago, RADAR and FAB400, recruited from 2015 to 2017 (N=1,114). We developed a measure to assess PMD among this population, performed initial validation, and assessed its relationship to longitudinal changes in patterns of marijuana use and geographic distribution.
Results: In multivariable models, mean PMD score was prospectively associated with general (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=2.00; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.46–2.77), but not problematic marijuana use. An increase in perceived decriminalization also predicted a significant increase in odds of general (aOR=1.67; 95% CI: 1.18–2.39) marijuana use. Significant concentrations of high PMD scores existed in across the city.
Conclusion: These results suggest further study of longitudinal changes in marijuana use as decriminalization or legalization increases in the U.S. to better understand shifting trends in use.