Teen Marijuana Use Declines Despite Legalization

Teen Marijuana Use Declines Despite Legalization

Teen marijuana us will always be a concern in the United States. Since Colorado and Washington legalized the retail sale and recreational use of cannabis for adults in 2012, the media interest in this topic has added fuel to the fear fire, especially now that Oregon and Alaska passed legalization measures in November.

According to the most recent addition of the Monitoring the Future study from the University of Michigan, however, parents may have less to worry about because teen marijuana use has actually declined despite legalization.

Teen Marijuana Use Graph

There was a five year pattern demonstrating an increase in cannabis use among teens until the release of the 2014 survey. In the last year, teens reported a 2 percent decrease. In 2013, 26 percent of 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported having used marijuana. In 2014, that number decreased to 24 percent. The lead investigator in this study, Lloyd Johnston, reported that according to the study,

“Personal disapproval of use is down some in 8th and 12th grades. Reported availability, on the other hand, is down significantly since 2013 in the two lower grades (and unchanged in 12th grade), which may help to explain the modest decline in use this year.”

If that is the case, the regulation part of the legalization movement may be working.

Reported daily use of cannabis has also slightly declined. In 2013, 6.5 percent of high school seniors admitted to daily marijuana use. That number decreased to 5.8 percent, or one in every 17 in 2014. The survey also showed a decline in the use of alcohol and cigarettes among the sample of students.

The University of Michigan conducts the Monitoring The Future survey from a sample size of 40,000 to 50,000 students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades from at least 40 different secondary schools throughout the United States. This is the 40th year for the study.

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