Study: Perceived Marijuana Access Declining Among Youth

joint_budThe percentage of young people who believe that they can readily access marijuana has fallen significantly since 2002, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

A team of investigators from Boston University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Carolina, and St. Louis University examined trends in perceived cannabis access among adolescents for the years 2002 to 2015.

Authors reported: “[W]e observed a 27 percent overall reduction in the relative proportion of adolescents ages 12 to 17 and a 42 percent reduction among those ages 12 to 14 reporting that it would be ‘very easy’ to obtain marijuana. This pattern was uniformly observed among youth in all sociodemographic subgroups.”

They concluded, “Despite the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in some states, our findings suggest that … perceptions that marijuana would be very easy to obtain are on the decline among American youth.”

The new data is consistent with figures published last year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported, “From 2002 to 2014, … perceived availability [of marijuana] decreased by 13 percent among persons aged 12–17 years and by three percent among persons aged 18?25 years [old].”

An abstract of the study, “Trends in perceived access to marijuana among adolescents in the United States: 2002-2015,” is online here.

10 thoughts

  1. I think what is significant here is less about whether Little Johnny “perceives” marijuana as being less available to him; rather, it is more about marijuana legalization preventing Drug Warriors from crushing Little Johnny, and ruining his life, if and/or when he decides to take his first toke (or even his following tokes!)

    1. …or lace Little Johhny’s weed with some crack ir fentanyl…

      Bottom line is when adults agree to show their ID for quality, legalized, youth-inaccessible marijuana the demand for inferior quality, youth-accessible illegal street weed declines.

      1. There should be no legal penalties for marijuana use, whether one is a minor or an adult. Whether teens perceive it to be more or less available is irrelevant. Keeping teens, and adults, and their pets and possessions safe from assault by police is what counts.

      2. Mark, you know my story. I didnt smoke weed until I was 18 because I believed Morgan Freeman when he said “It killz ya braincells son! It killz ya braincells!” Then to my dismay my first joint was laced with crack. That was in DC, 1996. Times have changed finding quality weed in our nations capitol, thanks to private legalization efforts. To me, if we have to hit a priority, lets make sure people arent going to jail for some moldy, laced dirt weed. Quality is priority to me.
        Bring the legal age down to 18. If we can choose to die for our country at that age we can damn well buy some weed. Hell, if we want to keep tackle football under 18 we should damn well let kids have safe access to medical marijuana, but dont get me started on the NFL debate…

      3. Julian, I know you to be a solid advocate for our youth. I’m sure if it were between the two of us to settle, we would ensure that America’s youth would be entirely safe from the Drug Warriors.

        Although I’m pushing sixty now, my inner teenager still resents the fact that teenagers will be the last to see justice regarding cannabis, even though we all know that, from a criminal justice perspective, a teenager smoking a joint is a non-event.

        That’s why I see any age limit for cannabis use as an unfortunate political concession, however necessary, at the expense of the health and safety of our most vulnerable young adults.

        With that in mind, I agree with your proposal to reduce the legal age from 21 to 18.

  2. When every man, woman and child knows the Vape Toke procedure for 25-mg single servings in a flexdrawtube oneheater, ease of procuring weed (or tobacco, alfalfa, basil, chamomile, damiana, dandelion, eucalyptus, fo-ti-tieng, ginseng leaf, hops flower etc.) will be m00t because, at two single tokes every two days, a gram will last more than a month. Microdose uber alles!

    1. PS. Please, this means eliminating every picture of a Joint from our website, to a three-year-old looking on while Mom reads the article every pictured Joint is a $iggerette advertisement, suck hard, carbon monoxide, $ide-$tream $moke.

      1. Mexweed, I respect the allusion youre trying to create between a young person’s picture of a joint v. a cigarette but keeping a pic of a joint on NORML’s website or keeping from advocating the rights of anyone who smokes cannabis is wrong and leads to policies like Florida, New York and Pennsylvania where medical patients still get arrested for smoking their marijuana medicine.

        I’ve been smoking marijuana out of a pipe for decades now and I just bought some zig zags after so long I cant tell …but what I can tell you is I haven’t had a tobacco and-God-knows-what-else-is-in-it cigarette since I started smoking whole plant marijuana when I was 18. And my first joint was unwittingly laced with crack! (Never smoked that again either I’m glad to say).

  3. Uh oh, more facts. But what will the Keebler Elf say? Surely the people who did this study must’ve been flying high on pot, gripped in the throes of insanity.

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