Colorado: Youth Marijuana Use Unchanged Post-Legalization, State Survey Data Says

Denver, CO: Marijuana use by young people remains largely unchanged since the enactment of a voter-initiated law legalizing the plant’s possession and retail sale to adults, according to data released by the Department of Public Health and Environment.

State survey data finds that the percentage of teens acknowledging using cannabis in 2017 was 19 percent, down one percent from 2013. Colorado voters passed legalization in November 2012. Retail sales of cannabis began on January 1, 2014.

The percentage of Colorado youth using cannabis is consistent with the national average.

By contrast, self-reported marijuana use by adults has increased slightly, driven largely by an increase in consumption by younger adults.

The data is consistent with prior studies finding that neither the enactment of medical cannabis legalization nor the enactment of adult use regulation is independently associated with increased marijuana use by young people.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana regulation and Teen Use Rates,” available online.