Rate of Teen Marijuana use Drops in Colorado After Legalization

shutterstock 439292719
shutterstock 439292719

A study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health backed up the idea that proper regulation can keep marijuana out of the hands of minors.

It is common knowledge that the legalization of marijuana dramatically increases teen usage. Right? Despite this idea being one of the main tenets of the anti-marijuana activist’s theory, new data shows this may not be the case at all.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has just released the findings of a new study that examined teenage marijuana use in Colorado. Since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, teen use has actually dropped. So far, it seems regulators are doing a good job of keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors.


But Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, wants to continue researching the issue before he gets too excited one way or the other.

“We at least get a glimmer of reassurance,” Wolk said of the new federal numbers according to the Cannabist. “I’d say that on the flip side too, if there were an increase. I’d say there’s a glimmer of concern.”

The NSDUH compared the rate of teen marijuana use from the 2014-2015 time period to 2015-2016. From 2014-2015, 11.13 percent of minors reported using marijuana in the last 30 days. That number dropped to 9.08 percent during 2015-2016.

“These survey results should come as welcome news to anyone who worried teen marijuana use would increase following legalization,” Brian Vicente, a Denver lawyer and prominent advocate for marijuana legalization in Colorado.

The NSDUH data resembles the similar findings by Colorado officials last year.

“I think the data reflect the trends we were seeing in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey,” said Mark Bolton, senior deputy legal counsel to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “I think we’re encouraged by the numbers.”