Since the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, teen drug use has dropped. Here’s why.

In 2012, the residents of Colorado voted in favor of recreational marijuana and by 2014, Colorado’s Amendment 64 was implemented. The state’s residents, aged 21 and older, were granted to access to purchase marijuana without a medical card. In the first year alone, $44 million in tax revenue was generated from sales and a portion the revenue funded social programs. Another positive impact from legalization was that teen drug use dropped.

According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana use among the state’s teenagers ages 12 to 17 is faintly higher than nine percent. The survey focused on monthly marijuana usage between 2015 to 2016, and experts stated that this is the lowest rate in marijuana use among teenagers in ten years. What’s even more positive? The rates of teenagers using alcohol, tobacco products, and heroin have also dropped.

An author of Colorado’s Amendment 64, Brian Vicente, credits the decrease of teen marijuana usage to the position that the state has in the industry. “There are serious penalties for selling to minors,” Vicente said in an interview, “and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs.”

One must consider, although Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, the black market is still alive and well. Despite still having access to marijuana, why has usage rates dropped dramatically? One theory is by eliminating the illegality of it, the stigma and “forbidden fruit factor” is also removed. If teenagers see adults using marijuana, this action may seem less disobedient and because of that less tempting.

While we may be getting ahead of ourselves to presume that teen drug use will entirely dissipate just by solely legalizing marijuana, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health is a good starting argument for the information and data required.

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1 comment
  1. I wish the UK would wake up to this. Needless deaths of young people could be avoided. US has woken up, The Netherlands woke up years ago. Come on UK get your act together. Some of us need cannabis for pain control not just for pleasure. We could save the NHS a fortune and save the damage caused to peoples digestive systems by NSAIDs and damaging their reactions by putting them on Opiates.

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