SAM 4/19/2024 Friday Fact: Top 10 U.S. States by Annual Marijuana Use Among Youth (Aged 12-17) in 2021-2022

The SAMSHA 2021-2022 NSDUH: Model-Based Estimated Prevalence For States provides estimates of drug use at the state level. Their survey spans 2021 and 2022, rather than only one year, because they needed a sufficiently large sample size for all states.  

Based on this, we looked at the prevalence of past-year marijuana use among the 12–17 age group. We ranked the top 10 states by whether they have legalized recreational marijuana. 

  • New Mexico: 19.24% 
  • Nevada: 15.94% 
  • Alaska: 15.00% 
  • Vermont: 14.77% 
  • Colorado: 14.55% 
  • Oregon: 13.96% 
  • Arizona: 13.82% 
  • Louisiana: 13.01% 
  • Massachusetts: 12.97% 
  • Washington: 12.74% 

Among the 10 states with the highest prevalence of past-year marijuana use among youth, 9 were states that had legalized recreational marijuana. 

The legalization is associated with higher rates of youth use, compared to states that have not done so, because this policy normalizes the drug, reduces risk perceptions, and increases its availability. These issues will be further worsened if marijuana is rescheduled as a Schedule 3 drug. 

To make your voice heard and act, we need you to tell Congress and the President to oppose marijuana rescheduling