CDC Report: Rates of Lifetime Marijuana Use Among Teens Decline Following Enactment of State-Level Legalization Policies

Atlanta, GA: The enactment of state-level adult-use marijuana legalization laws is associated with declining rates of lifetime marijuana use by high-school students, according to data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Authors assessed substance use patterns among high-school students nationwide during the years 2009 to 2019. They reported a temporary uptick in the prevalence of self-reported lifetime marijuana use by young people from 2009 to 2013 – prior to the enactment of state-level adult-use legalization laws, followed by a decrease in use during the years 2013 to 2019.

Beginning with Colorado, nearly a dozen US states began allowing retail marijuana sales to adults between 2014 and 2019.

The study’s authors called the downward trend in teen marijuana use “encouraging.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of several others – such as those here, here, and here – reporting that marijuana use by young people has not been adversely impacted by adult-use legalization policies.

Full text of the study, “Prescription opioid misuse and use of alcohol and other substances among high school students – Youth Behavior Risk Survey, United States,” is available from the CDC. Additional information on marijuana legalization and teen use patterns is available from the NORML fact sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”