Teen Cannabis Use Declines After Legalisation
2 min

Teen Cannabis Use Declines After Legalisation

2 min

It seems that Colorado high school students aren't so "high" after all - teen marijuana use is declining after legalization.

After experiencing what many would deem as the 'high' times, it has now come to light that marijuana use among Colorado high school students appears to be on the decline. As one of the first place in the world to legalize recreational cannabis, Colorado is now closely watched by opponents and opponents alike.

A recent press release distributed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reads: „According to preliminary data from the state's biennial Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, in 2013 - the first full year the drug was legal for adults 21 and older - 20 percent of high school students admitted using pot in the preceding month and 37 percent said they had at some point in their lives.“

In the same survey from 2011 it was reveled that '22 percent of high school students used the drug in the past month and 39 percent had ever sampled it'. Couple this with the data stretching back to 2009 where '25 percent of high school students said they used pot in the past month and 45 percent said they had ever done so' then as you can see a downwards trend starts to emerge. In fact, this decline in teen usage rates flies in the face of trends nationwide which only see those teen use increase. Again, it seems prohibition is achieving the exact opposite of what it hopes to achieve.

However, at this stage it's too early to tell for sure whether this „year-to-year decline represents a statistically significant change“ - it has however, sparked a heated debate; igniting advocates on both sides of the table. Supporters of marijuana legalization argue that underage use will shrink as states impose stricter cannabis controls.

Marijuana Policy Project Communication Director Mason Tvert was quick to show his support in favor of the recent statistics, saying "once again, claims that regulating marijuana would leave Colorado in ruins have proven to be unfounded." Mr Tvert was then later quoted as saying "how many times do marijuana prohibition supporters need to be proven wrong before they stop declaring our marijuana laws are increasing teen use?

"The drop in teen use reflects the fact that state and local authorities have far more control over marijuana than ever before.”

Opponents of both Mr Tvert were quick to respond with their own 'gusto' (for lack of a better word) - fearing that a decline in perceptions over the harm associated with the drug would invariably lead to an upsurge in teen use. Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the anti-legalisation group „Smart Approaches to Marijuana“ was keen to reiterate this point, but also debunk the credibility of the stats saying "No statistician would interpret that as being a decline.“ Mr Sabet accused legalization advocates were out to "confuse'' the public with the numbers and "spinning them as a drop in teen use" which Mr Sabet strongly believed were not.

The fight goes on, but clearly the numbers have picked a side.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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