Today, a new survey released by the state of Colorado finds that marijuana use has skyrocketed in the last two years with nearly 21% of young people in the state reporting past-month use. Notably, use in young teens (aged 15 and younger) has increased to 15.5%, up from 2017 (the last time data was collected).
“Today’s Colorado survey results show pot legalization has failed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “These large increases in past 30-day use, particularly in the last year among younger teens, should ring alarm bells. We need to seriously reconsider this risky experiment and lessen the pot industry’s grip on our children. The normalization of pot may allow marijuana CEOs to rake in profits, but it is also putting kids at risk.”
According to the data, part of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, since 2017, past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 14.8%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 3.0%, and 18 or older has increased 1.9%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups has risen 6.2%.
Since legalization was implemented in Colorado in 2013, past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 0.6%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 8.4%, and 18 or older has increased 8.7%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups since legalization has increased 4.6%.
There has also been a change in the way youth are using marijuana – a quintupling of youth “dabbing” high potency concentrates, and a doubling of youth vaping, since 2015.
“The so-called ‘regulation’ of marijuana has clearly failed to keep the drug out of the hands of young people in Colorado,” continued Dr. Sabet. “Given that Colorado’s marijuana regime allows flavored marijuana vapes such as ‘cookies’ brands, as well as other forms of candies and sweets and other kid-friendly forms of advertising, these increases are unsurprising, though they are devastating.”