Influencing Legislation and Legislators for the Lord Jesus Christ.

‘Legal’ Colorado Leads Nation In Teens Trying Pot

According to Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), more young people are trying marijuana for the first time in Colorado, the first state to allow recreational marijuana than anywhere else in the nation. SAM’s conclusion is drawn from a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The survey also finds the state is at the top of the list for the lowest perception of risk of using marijuana among teens. 

Almost 8% of Colorado teens admitted trying marijuana for the first time last year, compared with 7.9% in Massachusetts, 7.4% in DC and 7.1% in Alaska, all jurisdictions with “legal” marijuana (marijuana remains illegal in the U.S. per the Controlled Substances Act). Past month use of marijuana is double in “legal” states among all age groups, and 45% higher in the 12 to 17 year-old category (9.1% versus 6.3%). 

“The effects of legalization are revealing our worst fears,” Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, president and founder of SAM, and a former White House drug policy advisor, said.”Big Pot’s profits-over-people business model is hooking more people on highly potent marijuana gummies, candies, waxes, and blunts while governments look the other way. How many lives have to be affected until we take action?”

Sabet continued, “There should be a moratorium on legalization until we can better understand what is happening. The social harms—increased stoned driving, more youth use, crime, and hospital mentions—keep piling up. We need to stop the bleeding.”

Key findings of the study: 

  • Past month use of marijuana is noticeably greater in states that have legalized among those 12+ by 7.6% (legal: 16%; non: 8.5%), 12-17 by 2.8% (9.1%; 6.3%), and 18+ by 8.7% (17.4%; 8.7%).
  • Past year use of marijuana is noticeably greater in states that have legalized among those 12+ by 10% (legal: 23.48%; non: 13.43%), 12-17 by 3.7% (15.7%; 12%), and 18+ by 10.5% (24.1%; 13.6%). 
  • In 2017, past month marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds was highest in Vermont (10.75%), followed by Oregon (10.35%).
  • In 2017, past year marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds was highest in Vermont (17.88%), followed by Oregon (17.01%).
  • In 2017, perception of great risk from smoking marijuana once a month among 12-17 year-olds was lowest in Colorado (16.21%), followed by Oregon (16.84%).
  • Washington saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting both past month and year use in 2017, compared to 2016 
  • Oregon saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting both past month and year use in 2017, compared to 2016.
  • D.C. saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting past month use in 2017, compared to 2016 
  • California saw a significant increase among 12+ and 18+ year-olds reporting both past month and year use in 2017, compared to 2016.