Colorado shows increase in teen use since before legalization; 18-25 year old rate and overall 12 and older rate also up
[WASHINGTON, DC] – The nation’s only representative sample of people in U.S households release special state data today finding increases in marijuana use not seen in a national school survey (Monitoring the Future). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health report released today found that Colorado youth past-month marijuana use is higher than it was before legalization. It also found that Colorado teens and adults use marijuana at a higher rate than the rest of the country. Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012 and implemented legal marijuana stores in 2014. At the same time, the sales of alcohol shows a slight increase.
“Once again, Colorado takes the prize for leading the nation in underage pot use,” said Kevin A. Sabet, a former White House drug advisor who is now president of SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana. ” Not only that, but use overall and use among 18-25 year-olds is steadily climbing. It’s no surprise, given that the pot industry is pouring millions of dollars a year into promoting the use of their addictive products.”
“While drug, cigarette, and alcohol use are falling almost across the board, due to decades of work and millions of taxpayer dollars, kids are turning more and more to marijuana,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President. “It’s unsurprising now that the marijuana industry — following in the footsteps of the tobacco industry — is pouring millions into marketing kid-friendly edible products like pot candy to maximize their profits.”
According to statements from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association, marijuana use, especially among youth, should be avoided, and legalization efforts opposed.
“Medical research is very clear that marijuana is both addictive and harmful,” noted Dr. Stu Gitlow, immediate past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “One in six adolescents that use marijuana develop an addiction, and use is associated with lower IQ, lower grades, and higher dropout rates in that same population. It is therefore of significant concern that this year’s study may actually underreport marijuana use and downplay its impact.”
Meanwhile, the toll of legalized marijuana continues to climb in Colorado and Washington. For example, the AAA Foundation reported earlier this year that the percentage of fatal crashes in the state of Washington linked to drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled the year marijuana retail sales were authorized. Similarly, cases of marijuana poisonings are up 108% in Colorado after legalization, and up 206% among children ages 0 to 8 years old. (More data on these trends is available in SAM’s recent report on legalization in both states.)
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, see https://learnaboutsam.org.