With Pot Now Legal in Colorado, Teens Back Away

Still, Rocky Mountain teens light up more than in any other state
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2016 10:48 AM CST
A young woman smokes marijuana in Denver in this file photo. A new report shows teen pot use is down since legalization in Colorado.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – Proving many critics of marijuana legalization wrong, the kids haven't exactly been flocking to smoke dope in Colorado since the drug was legalized two years ago, new federal statistics show. The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds using pot dipped in the state from 20.81% in 2013-2014 to 18.35% in 2014-2015, reports the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The Washington Post reports the roughly 12% drop mirrored a decline in teen pot use in other states including Washington, the other state to legalize recreational use in 2014. Still, more Rocky Mountain State teens are toking up than in other states, a trend the Gazette says began before legalization.

"It's hard to be enthusiastic about data that shows that Colorado is essentially tied with Alaska for the highest youth marijuana use rate in the nation," says Henny Lasley of anti-pot group Smart Colorado. The findings are in stark contrast to usage among Coloradans age 26 and up, which jumped to 19.91% from 16.80% before legalization. Pot critics say usage by young adults whose brains are still developing is more dangerous; studies show teens are at greater risk of becoming addicted than adults. What accounts for the drop in teen pot use? The Post notes the reasons could be numerous, including research that shows a growing disapproval among young people toward drug use. This month, Colorado topped $1 billion in legal pot sales, per the Cannabist. (Long-term pot use may bring memory problems.)

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