Teen Marijuana Use Down In Most Legalized States, Federal Data Says

Teen Marijuana Use Down In Most Legalized States, Federal Data Says

Contrary to fears raised by marijuana opponents, teen use of cannabis is trending downward in most states that have legalized it for adult use.

According to new data from the federally-funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the percentage of Colorado teens who used marijuana in the past year is down more than two points in the 2015-2016 version of the study as compared to the 2014-2015 edition.

The same is true in Washington State. In Washington, D.C., the drop was nearly three points. A smaller decline was seen in Oregon, while Alaska showed a slight rise.

Annual teen cannabis use is also down across the U.S. as a whole, but the drop was less significant than that experienced in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana.

Percentage Of 12-17 Year-Olds Who Used Marijuana In The Past Year

STATE 2014-2015 2015-2016
Alaska 18.44 18.86
Colorado 18.35 16.21
District of Columbia 16.55 13.58
Oregon 17.56 17.35
Washington 15.61 13.54
Total U.S. 12.86 12.29

Similar drops were seen in most legalization states for monthly teen cannabis use as well.

Percentage Of 12-17 Year-Olds Who Used Marijuana In The Past Month

STATE 2014-2015 2015-2016
Alaska 10.64 10.43
Colorado 11.13 9.08
District of Columbia 8.85 8.07
Oregon 9.42 9.77
Washington 9.17 7.93
Total U.S. 7.2 6.75

Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana in 2012, with Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. ending cannabis prohibition in 2014. (Four additional states voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, but those programs weren’t running when the new survey was completed.)

While legalization opponents have long argued that ending prohibition would lead to skyrocketing use by young people, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Advocates, on the other hand, have maintained that regulating and controlling the cannabis market and instituting strict age restrictions would actually give teens less access to marijuana than they had when it was illegal and there were no checks for age at the point of sale.

In a Facebook post, cannabis consulting firm Freedman and Koski, Inc, which is run by Colorado’s former top marijuana official, said that the drop in teen use in the state “coincides with an increase in funding prevention programs from cannabis taxes.”

https://www.facebook.com/FreedmanKoski/posts/1942988725965753

“Colorado is effectively regulating marijuana for adult use. Teen use appears to be dropping now that state and local authorities are overseeing the production and sale of marijuana,” said Brian Vicente, partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, and one of the lead drafters of Colorado’s legalization measure. “There are serious penalties for selling to minors, and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs. The days of arresting thousands of adults in order to prevent teens from using marijuana are over.”

The new state numbers are part of a state breakdown of NSDUH data that was released last week.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Teen Marijuana Use Down In Most Legalized States, Federal Data Says

Massachusetts Legislators Travel to Colorado to Learn About Cannabis

Massachusetts Legislators Travel to Colorado to Learn About Cannabis

Eight Massachusetts state senators are spending time in Colorado in the hopes of learning more about the state’s laws regarding legal cannabis. The trip is reportedly in preparation for whether Massachusetts voters approve, via ballot initiative, to legalize recreational cannabis statewide, so that the rollout of such a program would go more smoothly than that of the medical program.

The legislators will meet with Colorado officials at the state and municipal levels, as well as law-enforcement officials, to inquire as to how a legalization scheme would be best implemented in Massachusetts.

“If Massachusetts were to legalize marijuana for recreational use –and we are anticipating this will be on the ballot in November of this year– it would be a major social change, and there are ramifications for public health, public safety and for economic areas,”

said state Massachusetts Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), who is leading the delegation to Colorado.

“Colorado already has wrestled with a lot of these issues over the past several years, and that’s really the best opportunity for us to learn and to anticipate what may be happening in Massachusetts,” he continued.

The proposed Massachusetts law, which has already passed its biggest hurdle in order to appear on the ballot, has been spearheaded by the advocacy group Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts.

Were it not for the ballot measure option, legalized recreational cannabis would be unlikely to become law: it is opposed by both the state’s Republican governor and the state’s house speaker.

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