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Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates

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Following the enactment of both medical cannabis access laws and adult use marijuana laws, there has been no rise in self-reported marijuana use by adolescents.

Since 2002, perceived availability of marijuana among young people has fallen dramatically nationwide.

Rates of problematic cannabis use by young people has declined 24 percent between 2002 and 2013.

The enactment of medical cannabis laws is not associated with any causal upticks in youth marijuana use

The passage of adult use cannabis laws is not associated with any causal upticks in youth marijuana use in those jurisdictions that have enacted them

  • "In the fully adjusted models, MMLs (medical marijuana laws) were not statistically associated with either measure of marijuana use, but RMLs (recreational marijuana laws) were associated with an 8% decrease in the odds of marijuana use and a 9% decrease in the odds of frequent marijuana use. ... Consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth. Moreover, the estimates reported ... showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes. This latter result is consistent with ... the argument that it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age."
  • There has been "no significant change in past 30-day use of marijuana between 2013 (19.7%) and 2017 (19.4%). Also, in 2017, the use rates were not different from the national 30-day use rates reported by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2017, 19.4% of Colorado high school students reported using marijuana in the past 30-days compared to 19.8% of high school students nationally that reported this behavior."