Teen Cannabis Use Down 12 Percent in Colorado Since Legalization

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According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cannabis use among Coloradans aged 12 to 17 dropped about 12 percent since the state’s legal market commenced, according to a Washington Post report. In 2013/2014 20.81 percent of teens admitted to using marijuana, compared to 18.35 percent in 2014/2015.

According to the report, a number of factors likely contributed to the drop – the informal market has shrunk and legal states have strict age and purchasing limit laws. Additionally, taxes from the industry are used for substance abuse education programs for children and, culturally, more teens now disapprove of drug use. Teen cannabis use also dropped in Washington, but it wasn’t statistically significant, the report says.

Cannabis use among Colorado teens is higher than the national average; however that was the case well before legalization – in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 the national average for teen cannabis use was about 8 percent, compared to just over 10 percent in Colorado. In 2012/2013 the gap widened, with a national average of about 7 percent, compared to about 11 percent in Colorado.

The survey also found that cannabis use among Colorado residents aged 26 and older is up, from 16.8 percent in 2013/2014 to 19.91 percent in 2014/2014. That trend is in line with national figures during the same time frame.

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