Marijuana Use Down Among Teens in Colorado Since MMJ Regulations Implemented
Since the passage of HB10-1284, Colorado’s historical medical marijuana regulation legislation, current marijuana use among high school students in Colorado has dropped from 24.8% to 22.0% according to the Federal Government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Assessment. You can view the 2011 report here and the 2009 report here. These findings are consistent with a recent report published by Professor Mark Anderson that shows no noticeable link between increased youth marijuana use and states legalizing medical marijuana. In fact, the reports show that marijuana use among teens in Colorado is slightly below the national average.
Although some have reported an increase in drug related suspensions in Colorado high schools, it appears those suspensions may correlate better with an increase in detection efforts by school officials than an actual increase in youth marijuana usage.
Also in the CDC survey, significantly more teens in the United States are using marijuana than cigarettes. Just more than 23 percent of high school students nationwide reported using marijuana within 30 days of taking the latest survey, up from 20.8 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, 18.1 percent reported past-30-day cigarette use, down from 19.5 percent in 2009.
Previous studies have shown that cigarette use and availability among teens, which had been sharply increasing in the early 1990s, began steadily declining shortly after the 1995 implementation of the “We Card” program, a renewed commitment to strictly restrict the sale of tobacco to young people.
By putting marijuana behind the counter, requiring proof of age, and strictly controlling its sale, we could make it even harder for teens to get their hands on it.