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Teen Marijuana Use Remains Mostly Unchanged Despite Legalization

Teen Marijuana Use Remains Mostly Unchanged Despite Legalization

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) biennial High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, which examines teen marijuana use, reported that the rates of use were mostly unchanged from 2011 to 2013 (Ferner, 2014). During those same years, five states—Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New Hampshire—legalized medical marijuana. 


The CDC survey showed that in 2013, “23.4 percent of American high-school-aged teens used marijuana one or more times in the thirty days before the survey,” according to Huffington Post writer Matt Ferner (2014). This is almost the same as the rates of use in 2011, which was 23.1 percent. Additionally, the survey also showed that alcohol and cigarette use in teens has been declining since 1991. 


Mason Tvert, who works for the Marijuana Policy Project, stated “Rates of teen alcohol and cigarette use have dropped, and we didn’t have to arrest any adults for using them. We could see the same results by regulating marijuana. Regulation works” (Ferner, 2014). 


While the survey did not have data for Colorado or Washington in 2013—the two states that legalized recreational marijuana use—there was data for Colorado during the years of increasing medical marijuana dispensing from 2009 to 2011; marijuana use by high school students decreased by almost 3 percent (Ferner, 2014).   


To view the results of the CDC survey, click here


Ferner, M. (2014). Teen marijuana use remains flat nationwide as more states legalize. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/13/teen-marijuana-use-flat_n_5492135.html