Government-Funded Survey Finds Little Change in Teen Cannabis Use Despite States Legalizing
The results of the Monitoring the Future Survey invalidate claims by prohibitionists that liberalizing cannabis laws will increase teen usage. The survey was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse
According to the survey:
• Among 8th-graders, the rate of past-year cannabis use dropped significantly from 11.8% in 2015 to 9.4% in 2016; its lowest level since 1993. Past-month cannabis use also dropped significantly; from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2016, and daily use dropped from 1.1% in 2015 to 0.7% in 2016.
• Among 10th- and 12th-graders, rates of past-year, past-month, and daily cannabis use remained relatively stable compared to last year.
• Students’ perception of risk surrounding cannabis emained relatively stable from 2015 to 2016. The perception that marijuana is very easy or fairly easy to access declined slightly for 8th- and 10th-graders, and it increased slightly for 12th-graders.
“Every time a state considers rolling back marijuana prohibition, opponents predict it will result in more teen use”, says Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Yet the data seems to tell a very different story. There has been a sea change in state marijuana laws over the past six years and teen usage rates have remained stable and even gone down in some cases.
“The best way to prevent teen marijuana use is education and regulation, not arresting responsible adult consumers and depriving sick people of medical marijuana. It is time to adopt marijuana policies that are based on evidence instead of fear.”
Since 2012, eight states and the nation’s capital have adopted laws that make marijuana legal for adult use. Since 1996, 28 states have adopted laws that make marijuana legal for seriously ill patients whose doctors recommend it.
Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project: