marijuana legalization

A Decline in Teen Marijuana Cases Noted as More States Aim for Marijuana Legalization


A federal survey has found that youth marijuana use has dropped drastically in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as more states gear up to enact legalization.

As per the latest dataset obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the federally backed study challenges the narrative that cannabis legalization would result in an increase in the usage by the underage masses.

A survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) during 2019-2020 found that the use of cannabis amongst those aged between 12-17 dipped from 13.2 percent to 10.1 percent. A decline in the 18-25 age groups was also noted from 35.4 percent to 34.5 percent.

Also Read: Florida’s Decision to Roll Back Online Sales of Medical Cannabis to Bolster the Industry

marijuana teen use survey

The latest survey is based on certain modifications in the methodology due to the pandemic. The interviews were conducted virtually for ensuring the safety of the participants.

When we compare the 2019-2020 survey result with past instances of the annual survey, it was noted that previously all the studies reported a spike in youth marijuana use due to legalization.

However, the use of marijuana by adults aged 26 and above has been trending upwards over the past few years.

The deputy director of NORML, Paul Armentano said that the fresh federal data indicate that changes in the marijuana policies have not resulted in any substantial rise in cannabis use among young people.

The overall adult-use laws are working the way the politicians and the voters intended. He also added that the licensed retailers check IDs and rarely diver the products to the illicit marketplace. These findings have reassured lawmakers that cannabis access can be regulated legally in a manner that is safe and effective and does not inadvertently impact the habit of young people.

There is a large growing body of evidence demonstrating that legalization does not lead to an increase in the use of marijuana amongst the youth.

For instance, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that the rates of adolescent cannabis consumption have not increased after the legalization of recreational use and medical cannabis enacted in the states.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has also concluded in a recent interview that legalization does not in any manner result in an increase in the use of marijuana amongst the youth despite the prior fears.

The National Center for Education Statistics that analyzed surveys among high school students from 2009 to 2019 have also concluded that there is no measurable difference in the percentage of those in grades 9-12 who reported consumption of cannabis at least once in the past 30 days.

Also Read: A Poll Finds That DC Voters Strongly Support Cannabis & Drug Decriminalization

Another federally funded report stated that the intake of cannabis among adolescents did not change significantly during 2019-2020. In yet another study released by Colorado officials, it was shown that consumption of cannabis among youth in the state has not changed significantly since legalization in 2012 despite diversifying the methods of consumption.

An official from National Marijuana Initiative admitted that the consumption of cannabis among the youth is going down in Colorado and also in other legalized states since legalization. Various past studies looking at teen use after enacting the legalization of cannabis have reported a decline in consumption.


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