Teen Marijuana Use Is Down In California Following Legalization, State-Funded Study Shows

Teen Marijuana Use Is Down In California Following Legalization, State-Funded Study Shows

Marijuana use among junior high and high school students is down across all age levels in California, according to the first survey of teen drug consumption conducted in the state since voters legalized recreational cannabis.

Results of the Biennial State California Healthy Kids Survey are consistent with data from other states that have legalized marijuana, where students have also reported declining or flat cannabis use rates following the end of prohibition for adults.

“Lifetime marijuana use was reported by 4%, 17%, and 32% of students by ascending grade, declines of 4 points in 7th [grade] and 6 points in both 9th and 11th [grades],” the survey’s authors found.

“Current use occurred among 2%, 9%, and 17%, down 3 to 4 points, depending on grade.”

The rates of alcohol and other drug use have been on steady downward trends since at least 2011, according to the survey. Recreational legalization after voters’ approval in 2016 didn’t interrupt that decline, nor did the growth of the medical cannabis market in the preceding years.

Steep Cannabis Use Drops Across All Grades

Grade 7 Grade 9 Grade 11
2013-2015 2015-2017 2013-2015 2015-2017 2013-2015 2015-2017
Current marijuana use, past 30 days (%) 5.0 2.3 13.4 9.5 20.1 16.7
Ever used marijuana 7.9 4.2 23.1 17.4 37.9 31.9

California student marijuana use survey results, in percentages.

Teens indicated in the survey that a combination of peer and parental disapproval is discouraging them from using cannabis, with the number of seventh- and ninth-graders who said that they strongly disapproved of peer marijuana smoking increasing most sharply.

Results of the survey include data collected between 2015, before 57 percent of California voters approved Proposition 64, which immediately legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in November 2016, and 2017.

While commercial medical cannabis sales have been widespread in the state for years, the new study does not take into account any potential effect from legal recreational commerce, which began on January 1 of this year.

“How the recent legalization of marijuana use for adults in California effects the declining trend among youth warrants attention,” the survey’s authors wrote.

“The next biennial survey will be of particular interest to shed light on whether the change in state marijuana laws affect these findings.”

However, the survey seems to provide initial validation for claims from marijuana legalization supporters who say that ending prohibition does not encourage more young people to consume cannabis.

In a statement, Tim Torlakson, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said that educators “must continue to be diligent in our efforts to prevent, or at least limit, marijuana use in light of the potential effect of the legalization for adults as a result of the passage of Proposition 64 two years ago.”

The survey was conducted by the California Department of Education and the California Department of Health Care Services.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Teen Marijuana Use Is Down In California Following Legalization, State-Funded Study Shows

Youth Support For Marijuana Legalization At All-Time High

Youth Support For Marijuana Legalization At All-Time High

The next generation of voters has had enough of marijuana prohibition and increasingly supports efforts to legalize cannabis, according to data from a new federal study of youth drug trends.

The full Monitoring the Youth survey, released on Friday, found that 49 percent of 12th graders backed full legalization in 2017, an “historic high,” according to the researchers at the University of Michigan.

Only 12 percent said marijuana use should be criminalized—down from 30 percent a decade ago. An additional 26 percent of today’s teens believe that cannabis use should be essentially decriminalized and treated like minor infractions such as parking tickets.

marijuana legalization

The survey also showed an historic low in support for prohibiting marijuana use in public: 50 percent.

marijuana legalization poll

Though prohibitionists have argued that state-level legalization laws will inevitably lead to a substantial uptick in youth marijuana use, the data backing that claim just isn’t there. Yes, marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students rose slightly from 2016 to 2017, but those rates are still lower than they were prior to 2012, when Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for adult use.

In other words, ending cannabis prohibition doesn’t appear to be correlated with skyrocketing youth consumption. It’s remained relatively stable over the years, despite the fact that more and more states have opted to legalize.

“The study’s authors attribute rising support for legalization to a perception that marijuana use is ‘safe and state-sanctioned,’ but youth are smart enough to understand that saddling someone with a marijuana arrest is far more detrimental than marijuana use itself,” Betty Aldworth, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said in an interview with Marijuana Moment. “They interpret the results of regulation—improved public health, job market expansion and education funded by tax revenue—just as clearly as any other citizen, and come to the reasonable conclusion that communities are best served when marijuana is decriminalized for youth, legal for adults, and regulated.”

The national survey also asked what 12th graders would be “most likely to do” if marijuana was legalized.

Most survey respondents (47 percent) said they wouldn’t use it, no matter the legal status. About 15 percent said they might try it. Sixteen percent said they’d use cannabis at about the same rate as they already did. Just 10 percent said they’d probably use marijuana more often if it became legal.

legal marijuana use

Another key finding of the survey is that while young people are beginning to perceive marijuana as less dangerous, those changing attitudes don’t seem to be causing upticks in use along with conventional wisdom long held by public health researchers.

“For 8th and 10th grade students, the proportion who see great risk in experimental use of marijuana is at the lowest level ever recorded by the survey, at 22% and 15%, respectively,” the study found. “Perceived risk has been in a steady decline since the late 2000s. When this decline began, actual use of marijuana increased, but use leveled around 2010. In 2017 annual marijuana use increased, albeit not significantly, in all three grades. We had expected that a larger increase in marijuana use would have occurred by now in light of the decrease in perceived risk, but this increase was likely offset as a consequence of the decline in cigarette smoking.”

“This finding calls into question the long-standing, inverse connection between marijuana prevalence and perceived risk of use, a connection central to many arguments opposing marijuana legalization.”

Usage patterns aside, legalization doesn’t seem to be making marijuana more available to teens, either.

“Marijuana has been the most consistently available illicit drug and has shown only small variations over the years,” the study reports. “What is most noteworthy is how little change has occurred in the proportion of 12th graders who say that marijuana is fairly or very easy to get. By this measure, marijuana has been readily available to the great majority of American 12th graders (from 80% to 90%) since 1975. While variability has been small over the course of the survey, perceived availability of marijuana is at or near historic lows in each grade.”

“This decline in perceived availability is somewhat counter-intuitive, given the widespread adoption of medical marijuana laws and recent legalizing of recreational marijuana use for adults in several states.”

Whatever the reasoning behind trends in youth perceptions of marijuana laws, what’s clear is that the upward support for reform is consistent with national trends. An October 2017 Gallup survey found a record 64 percent of American adults think cannabis should be legal—more than five times the level of support since Gallup started surveying adults on the issue in 1969. Whether it’s teens or adults, the rise in support is increasingly evident.

And the growing support for legalization goes beyond just marijuana.

Fewer than a majority of 12th graders—48 percent—now think that using LSD in private should be prohibited, down from 64 percent ten years ago.

“In 2017 the proportions of 12th grade students agreeing that use of LSD, heroin, and amphetamines in private should be prohibited by law continued their long declines and were near historic lows.”

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Youth Support For Marijuana Legalization At All-Time High

Medical Cannabis Laws Don’t Increase Teen Marijuana Use, Another Study Finds

Medical Cannabis Laws Don’t Increase Teen Marijuana Use, Another Study Finds

States laws that allow people with doctor’s recommendations to legally use medical cannabis don’t lead to increased teen use of marijuana, a new large-scale meta-analysis finds.

“Synthesis of the current evidence does not support the hypothesis that US medical marijuana laws (MMLs) until 2014 have led to increases in adolescent marijuana use prevalence,” the new study, published on Thursday in the journal Addiction, concludes.

Researchers at Columbia University and other institutions examined the results of 11 previously published studies looking at youth marijuana consumption prior to and after the enactment of medical cannabis laws in comparison with usage rates in states that do not allow any legal use of marijuana.

“For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens’ use of the drug,” Deborah Hasin, professor of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School and senior author of the study, said in a press release.

“Of the 11 studies included in the meta-analysis, none found significant (P < 0.05) changes in past-month marijuana use following MML passage within MML states (compared to comparable changes in non-MML states),” Hasin and co-authors wrote in the new study.

Hasin cautions that evolving medical cannabis programs and broader legalization of recreational marijuana could end up having an effect on teen use rates.

“However, we may find that the situation changes as commercialized markets for medical marijuana develop and expand, and as states legalize recreational marijuana use,” she said. “The $8 billion cannabis industry anticipates tripling by 2025. Obtaining a solid evidence base about harmful as well as beneficial effects of medical and recreational marijuana laws on adults is crucial given the intense economic pressures to expand cannabis markets”.

For now, though, the large-scale analysis shows that existing commercial access to marijuana through medical cannabis programs has not enticed more teens to use the drug.

“In summary, current evidence does not support the hypothesis that MML passage is associated with increased marijuana use prevalence among adolescents in states that have passed such laws up until 2014,” the study concludes.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Medical Cannabis Laws Don’t Increase Teen Marijuana Use, Another Study Finds

Zero Marijuana Shops Sold To Minors In Oregon Sting Operation

Zero Marijuana Shops Sold To Minors In Oregon Sting Operation

Oregon marijuana stores scored a 100 percent compliance rate in not selling to underage individuals in a round of undercover sting operations across the state this month and in February.

“The OLCC performs marijuana sales checks in an effort to reduce access to marijuana by minors,” regulators with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission wrote in a press release announcing the results. “During the sales checks, a minor volunteer attempts to purchase marijuana from a licensed business to see if staff are checking ID’s correctly and refusing to sell marijuana to anyone under 21.”

“Commission inspectors supervise the minor volunteers,” the state officials wrote. “The volunteers carry their own legal ID that identifies them as under 21 and do not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana. The Oregon Driver license for a minor carries a red border around the around the picture with the words ‘Minor Until’ followed by the date of his/her 21.”

The results are a big improvement from January, when more than a dozen marijuana dispensaries failed compliance checks.

But before that, in December, retailers in another sting operation scored another 100 percent compliance rate.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Zero Marijuana Shops Sold To Minors In Oregon Sting Operation

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