By Paul Armentano
Prohibitionists’ fears that liberalizing marijuana penalties will lead to a rise in teen use have failed to come to fruition.
The latest evidence is a report from the United States Center for Disease Control finding that the percentage of high-schoolers ever reporting having used cannabis fell from an estimated 43
percent in 1995 to just under 39 percent in 2015. The percentage of teens currently using cannabis (defined as having used marijuana at least once in the past 30 days) also declined during this same period, from 25 percent in 1995 to just under 22 percent in 2015. The percentage of teens using cocaine similarly trended downward, falling from roughly 8 percent in 1995 to 5 percent last year.
During this same time period, two-dozen states enacted statutes permitting qualified patients to consume cannabis, and four states enacted laws permitting the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults.
The CDC data also reported that young people’s marijuana use continued to decline between the years 2013 and 2015 – following the enactment of retail marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington.
The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey results are consistent with to those of numerous other studies finding that changes in cannabis’ legal status are not associated with increased use among adolescents, including the findings two other federally commissioned data sets.
Photo Credits: ProtoMag
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