An often heard criticism of cannabis legalization is the effect it would have on children. In the case of Colorado it seems the effects, specifically on teens are non-existent.
A new study from Colorado’s department of health, education and human services, surveyed 17,000 randomly selected teens and determined consumption rates were similar or slightly lower than they were before legalization.
Almost 80 percent of teens surveyed reported not having used cannabis in the last 30 days, the same rate reported in 2012. Additionally, only 38 percent of respondents had ever tried cannabis, which is nearly identical to national rates.
For context, 25 percent of respondents reported having used cannabis in the past 30 days, and 43 percent reported ever having used it in 2009.
More than 50 percent of respondents said cannabis ‘would be easy to obtain,’ which is kind of irrelevant because there is no national benchmark to compare it to.
“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally,”
the Colorado Department of Health said in a statement.
News of the study was well received by industry organizations as well.
“These statistics clearly debunk the theory that making marijuana legal for adults will result in more teen use … Levels of teen use in Colorado have not increased since it ended marijuana prohibition, and they are lower than the national average. Elected officials and voters in states that are considering similar proposals should be wary of claims that it will hurt teens.”
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project stated.