After legalization of marijuana in Colorado, concerns of teen cannabis use heightened. But a new government survey shows that there is nothing to worry about; teenage use of marijuana actually dropped slightly after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana for adults.
Other studies confirm this. The biannual poll of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also shows that the percentage of high school students that use marijuana in Colorado is less than the national average.
Another study shows that teenagers are finding it harder to get marijuana.
Let’s Talk Numbers
21.2 percent of Coloradan high school students (surveyed in 2015) had used marijuana in the last 30 days.
This was down slightly from the 22 percent in 2011 – the year before voters approved statewide recreational cannabis use by adults 21 and older (the first state-licensed retail outlets for legalized pot actually opened in 2014).
The national rate of teenage pot use is slightly higher at 21.7 percent.
However, What Is Concerning
Data from a 2015 survey by the federal Department of Health and Human Services concludes that only 48 percent of the students polled viewed regular marijuana use as a risky behavior.
And although we have not done enough research on marijuana on teen use (due to a lack of funding and bureaucratic complications), it is highly likely that marijuana can have negative effects on teens.
However, Colorado is America’s experiment – can legal cannabis work? This is just another example of how it is working. As we continue to legalize and regulate, it may soon be no different that, say, alcohol.