Teen Pot Use Stalls as States Continue to Regulate Use

Despite several attempts by the media and policy makers to associate the rising number of state regulated medical marijuana programs (and popular legalization efforts) with a rise in use and a drop in associated risk, the 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey reports that there was no rise in daily or annual marijuana use among teens.  According to the report, “annual marijuana use [among 8th, 10th and 12th graders] showed no further increase in any of the three grades surveyed in 2012… [And the] daily use of marijuana…remained essentially flat.”  Also of note, despite the sharp decline in perceived risk of marijuana use across all three grades, there was a statistically significant decline of use among 8th graders.   These numbers are consistent with other recent studies showing that states with regulated marijuana programs have not seen an increase in teen use. Some have even seen a decrease in pot use among their youth population.

“This study suggests that exposure among teens to the concept of marijuana regulation policies (one third of whom live in such states) does not cause an increase in use. It is also important to consider that a drop in perceived risk is likely associated with their rejection of the overzealous scare tactics used in most schools’ drug education programs” said Sabrina Fendrick, Director of Women’s Outreach.

It is important to note, however, that marijuana use rates and availability nationwide remain at relatively high levels, while alcohol use rates remain historically low.  This is most likely due to the fact that the former is illegal and thereby not subject to government controls, while the latter substance is legally restricted to adults only. The same goes for tobacco. We did not have to outlaw cigarettes to reduce the use among minors. A policy of education and regulation (not prohibition) has created an environment in which cigarette usage has fallen to an all time low.  According to the principal investigator of the study, Lloyd Johnston, “[A] lowering teen smoking rates…likely…depend[s] on…changes such as raising cigarette taxes, further limiting where smoking is permitted, bringing back broad-based anti-smoking ad campaigns, and making quit-smoking programs more available.”  It has been proven that age restrictions, coupled with the imposition of government regulation and education are the most effective at reducing youth access to adult-only recreational substances.  According to the 2011 MFS report, the drop in alcohol use can be attributed to a strict regulation scheme that include educational campaigns focusing on responsible use and age restrictions which, in turn, lowers availability.

The report concluded; “In the 1980’s a number of states raised their minimum drinking age to twenty-one, which these researches were able to demonstrate reduced drinking.”  It goes on to say “the proportion of 8th and 10th graders who say they could get alcohol ‘fairly easily’ or ‘very easily’ had been declining since 1996 and continued to drop in all three grades in 2011.  Various other factors of likely importance include…higher beer taxes and restrictions on alcohol promotion to youth.”  The 2012 survey reported that again, “there was no increase in perceived availability of alcohol.”

One can therefore conclude that the only sensible answer to restricting marijuana access to [as well as use among] minors is through state and local government regulation and a message of moderation.




25 thoughts

  1. “”According to the report, “annual marijuana use [among 8th, 10th and 12th graders] showed no further increase in any of the three grades surveyed in 2012…””

    Since all data depends on voluntary submission of data they have no idea of marijuana use,,,for anyone.

    However they do have statistical data on the number of students stupid enough to admit smoking pot to the government,,disturbing.

  2. “One can therefore conclude that the only sensible answer to restricting marijuana access to [as well as use among] minors is through state and local government regulation and a message of moderation.”

    Yes of course, that and education. The current drug war drug education is a very bad joke. It basically lumps everything from glue to meth to magic mushrooms to pot into one big category called DRUGS and tells kids to go jump off a roof parkour. Kids know when they are being lied to. Kids know what is going on in the street. The only way to get childrens’ respect is to teach them the truth.

  3. Kids, you can tell the DARE at school,
    that with the following simple federal definition of marijuana,
    which actually shows respect for our Constitution,
    that cannabis will be a regulated plant,
    which sometimes has enough THC in it,
    to get you high,
    when you burn it,
    to smoke marijuana.

    16. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    They might be impressed by your understanding of the Constitution.
    For more information, google Talking Points for the Peloton.

  4. I wonder why the Government gets away with Genocide on a daily basis, Due to the sale of tobacco products, Four-hundred thousand people lose their lives every year. Marijuana has never once been the cause of any deaths.

  5. Supreme irony:

    Under cannabis prohibition,
    during high school years, it was MUCH EASIER
    to obtain the herb than it is now,
    when it’s really needed…!!!

    (don’t presently live in state that has re-legalized for medical or recreational use;
    Too expensive to relocate, as necessary as this need be)

    Am often in severe pain; refuse to use toxic OTC or
    prescription pain-relief meds.

    And alcohol…???
    That’s out of the question!!!

    IT, not cannabis, is the REAL pathway to madness…!!!

  6. Why are we, as a movement advocating harsh penalties for things like providing ANY substance that can impair to children? Why aren’t we advocating much harsher penalties for impaired driving? Why aren’t we advocating tight restrictions on commercial speech, and why aren’t we advocating educational solutions aimed at teens and children that gives credibility to the government’s goals of reducing teen drug use? Why don’t we acknowledge the research showing people who wait until age 21 (I think it’s age 25, but either way), and use that to advocate anything and every way available? Why don’t we advocate laws that require adults to secure alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in their home? Seems to me the way to tip this finally is to address all the objections with practical solutions. What am I missing here?

  7. David,,you are leaving out banning any science that reports “could be linked”,”possible harms” and any of several phrases used in government studies mostly to infer the dangers and damages caused by other drugs harms are also present in marijuana by default.

  8. only stupid one here is you, clay…

    people NEED to admit to acts that are not harmful or dangerous, that is the only way things change, by sway of public opinion… people standing up for what is right, and not criminal.

    doesn’t matter if they are 8 years old, or 80…

    by the way. i am pretty sure that the government would need actual physical evidence to get a conviction… in ANY type of case…

    i can say i smoke bud all i want… i would LOVE to see someone try to arrest me for saying that i utilize cannabis on a daily basis without having paraphernalia; resin; roaches, actual bud, on my person; etc…

    thought you were pretty brilliant up until that last statement you made…

  9. “Why don’t we advocate laws that require adults to secure alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in their home?”

    Good luck enforcing that. Or passing regulation like it.

  10. If kids want to get high, they will. It wont matter what any adult wants to impose on them. In fact, the more an adult tries to force no drugs or whatever, the more likely they will get drugs or whatever. They will find a way. All we really need is a culture that is neutral on drug use per se. Its a similar issue to being gay. Gay is usually not a learned state. Liking getting loaded is also not really a learned state. I have never liked alcohol. My metabolism does not fare well with it beyond a light buzz. Same goes for opiates. But cannabis. I love that stuff. My whole life, alcohol has been relatively acceptable while opiates and cannabis are not. Ive had drunk ass retards talk shit to me because I was roasting a few rather than drinking a half rack. My choices are not very dependent on who approves of what. I just dont smoke in front of those who probably disapprove if I find it likely they will try to hurt me. Ive had lots of people be very surprised with my lifestyle because I have the appearance of being a very intelligent person (I probably am) which people think drugs make you stupid…LOL, they just dont want to admit that they were stupid before they did drugs.

  11. I wish I had a nice iced chocolate cake right now. The sugar and chocolate are drugs. Take those out and what do you have? Nothing good. Weed is a green plant that tastes good when smoked and delivers 400 different chemicals that make you high in different combinations. It’s not like tobacco and alcohol-It CAN’T kill you. It’s not like opium and meth-It’s not addicting. It’s not like Tylenol and Coricidan- It’s not legal. Yet. Mmmm chocolate(a drug). It’s our God-given right to smoke weed. I choose to have good feelings instead of bad ones…

  12. make this the year to get medical in all 50 states. we need to start writing editorials to get the word out. 83% for medical makes it ridiculous for the politicians to keep claiming no one supports it like they do in PA. Let’s make sure we paper them into submission with thoughtful editorials this year. We need to at least force a vote this year so we can vote out the idiots next year. Get this out of committee PA!!!

  13. The money that the states would save could be used to pay there defecits. Less marijuana being imported from other countries. Most of it is crap anyway.

    Alot of government and state jobs would go away.

  14. Haha I laugh at this statistical data. When I was in high school, we realized those things are anonymous so we starting saying we took lots of pretty much every drug just to mess with them. We didn’t actually take any of the drugs (except maybe marijuana) .

  15. txpeloton, that already is the definition. One buys marijuana so they can burn or vape or eat it. No one is buying marijuana for the nice fibers also found in cheap hemp.

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