CDC: Changes In State Marijuana Laws Associated With National Decline In Teen Use Rates

Atlanta, GA: The passage of statewide laws regulating the consumption of cannabis by adults and/or qualified patients is not associated with increased rates of teen marijuana use, according to a statistical analysis provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

The federal health agency reports that the percentage of high-schoolers ever having used cannabis fell from an estimated 43 percent in 1995 to just under 39 percent in 2015. The percentage of teens currently using cannabis (defined as having used marijuana at least once in the past 30 days) also declined during this same period, from 25 percent in 1995 to just under 22 percent in 2015.

During this time period, two-dozen states enacted statutes permitting qualified patients to consume cannabis, and four states enacted laws permitting the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults.

The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey results are consistent with those of numerous other studies finding that changes in cannabis’ legal status are not associated with increased use among adolescents.

Separate statewide data released this week by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment similarly reported that youth marijuana use rates remain largely unchanged in recent years and has declined overall since 2009.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: