Culture

Will Weed Legalization Cause Teen Drug Use to Drop?

Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

Actual Teenage Pot Smoker

One year after legalization, marijuana use is down among teens in Colorado and in Washington State:

University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes.

“There is a lot of good news in this year’s results, but the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away,” Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, said.

After five years increases, marijuana use in the past year by students in all three grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2013. Students in the two lower grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was, the survey found.

One year does not make a trend of course, so I’m not jumping up and down over this, even though I support legalization.

I had expected a small bump in the usage numbers — even if teenage pot smoking had remained unchanged — because it’s safer to tell a pollster you’re doing something legal, than it is to admit to breaking the law.

It will be interesting to see what the next few annual polls brings.

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Cross-posted from Vodkapundit