Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes that legalization will keep marijuana out of the hands of youth. He’s wrong.
Consider the following:
- In 2012, Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This halted a four-year trend of declining marijuana use amongst youth.
- Colorado now leads the nation for marijuana usage amongst 12 – 17 year olds.
- In Colorado counties where marijuana shops are prevalent, youth usage has increased up to 90% in the last two years.
- Since legalization, youth usage of marijuana in Colorado has risen at about the same rate that tobacco usage has fallen.
- Overall marijuana use amongst minors in Colorado and Washington is both higher than and rising faster than the national average.
In a report titled, “Monitoring the Future, National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975–2016” the National Institute on Drug Abuse made the following observations:
- “The increasing number of states that have legalized marijuana use by adults – most recently California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – may be interpreted by adolescents as a signal that marijuana use is not dangerous, and that may have contributed to the trend for their more tolerant attitudes toward marijuana use.” Monitoring the Future, Page 403
- “Unfortunately, current conditions are well suited for a second relapse phase in drug use among youth in the U.S. Perceived risk for marijuana has fallen substantially in recent years as the recent string of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use have led some youth to believe the drug is safe and state-sanctioned.” Monitoring the Future, Page 39
- “22% of all 12th graders, or about one in five, (…) thought that they would try marijuana, or that their use would increase, if marijuana were legalized.” Monitoring the Future, Page 402
The report can be accessed here:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA. 2016.
- Lessons Learned After 4 Years of Marijuana Legalization. Smart Approaches to Marijuana. October 2016.
- Monitoring the Future, National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975–2016″ National Institute on Drug AbuseMonitoring the Future