Colorado teen marijuana use has dropped slightly since state residents voted to legalize recreational use in 2012.
So far, fears of the rampant expansion of marijuana use among teens in Colorado post legalization have not been warranted. The Colorado Department of Public Health has released their findings from a recent poll. The findings may have surprised some as teen marijuana use actually dropped slightly.
Of the teens polled, 21.2% indicated that they consumed marijuana in the last 30 days. This figure is down from 22% in a 2011 poll conducted from the Department of Health. Colorado teens seem to be smoking at a rate that is even smaller than the national rate of 21.7%.
The Department of Health conducts this poll every two years. Approximately 17000 students participated in the survey.
“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 department said in a statement.
Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project, felt the department’s findings confirm that prohibitionist’s fears of legalization are overblown.
“These statistics clearly debunk the theory that making marijuana legal for adults will result in more teen use,” he said.
Despite the drop in teen marijuana use, Diane Carlson of Smart Colorado, an advocacy group pushing for stricter marijuana regulations was not pleased with the results of the survey. She said it was “deeply concerning” that only 48% of students surveyed considered marijuana use to be risky behavior.
Over half of residents in the United States live in states where recreational or some form of medical marijuana is legal. In November, up to 12 states could be voting on significant marijuana reform. Although this is only one poll, if the trend in Colorado is documented elsewhere, it could be a major blow to the anti-marijuana movement. Teen marijuana use is often one of their largest concerns and often front and center in their arguments against legalization.