Cannabis use among Colorado teens dropped significantly in 2021, according to the latest version of a biannual state survey released last week.
Investigation Healthy Kids Colorado from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) found that young people were 35% less likely to use cannabis in 2021 than in previous years, continuing a trend that began in 2012 when cannabis was legalized in the state.
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize cannabis for adults, and data on underage use has been a focal point for proponents and opponents of reform. This latest survey shows a substantial drop in drug use among high school students over the past two years.
In the new report, the CDPHE found that just over 13% of students surveyed said they had used cannabis in the past 30 days compared to 20% in 2013, when the ministry’s biennial survey was launched.
“These data are consistent with those showing that cannabis regulatory policies can be implemented in a way that provides access for adults while simultaneously limiting access and abuse among youth,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the main pro-legalization association in the United States, at Marijuana Moment.
“These results should reassure lawmakers and others that access to cannabis for adults can be regulated in a way that doesn’t unintentionally impact the habits of young people,” he added.
As well as asking if they’ve used cannabis themselves, the new study also finds that just over 40% of college students said in 2021 that it would be easy for them to get their hands on cannabis if they wanted to. they wanted it. In 2013, before the start of legal sales, nearly 55% said so.
Another notable point from the survey concerns whether teens say they view regular cannabis use as risky. In the most recent biannual data, more than 60% said they considered frequent cannabis use to pose “moderate or high risk of harm”. In 2013, this figure was only 54%.
The former governor of Colorado, who currently sits in the US Senate, was opposed to the legalization of cannabis, largely because he feared the change in policy would encourage use among young people. He is now a strong supporter of reform.
A decade after legalization, teen marijuana use in Colorado continues to fall. We are the model for national legalization. https://t.co/3vZXEkyBPC
— Senator John Hickenlooper (@SenatorHick) June 17, 2022
“I think we’ve created a pretty good framework. Most other states either followed it or wanted to follow it,” Democratic Senator John Hickenlooper said earlier this year, adding that “I was mostly concerned about the kids,” including his own young children, who could “consume cannabis more frequently” if the state legalizes it.
“I think we’ve proven and demonstrated that there’s not an increase in teen experimentation. There’s no change in frequency of use, no change in driving under the influence – all the things that we were most worried about haven’t happened,” Mr Hickenlooper said.