During the pandemic, while legal marijuana was available as an “essential” product and kept available in stores and through delivery services, the underground market took a hit. With people isolated and major events cancelled, underground vendors have had a harder time reaching their market.
As a result, we now have even more evidence that legal marijuana—sold by licensed businesses that enforce age limits—is not getting into the hands of minors. Keeping it illegal feeds the teenage market.
New data from Colorado makes the point: Adult legal access to marijuana reduces teen use.
Teen use has declined during the pandemic
The percentage of young people who admit to consuming cannabis and having ready access to it has decreased dramatically between 2020 and 2021, according to state data provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDHPE).
Researchers reported a 35 percent year-over-year decrease in the percentage of teens who admitted to using cannabis products in the past 30 days.
It’s not that easy for teenagers to get legal weed
They also reported a 22 percent drop in the percentage of teens who said they could easily access cannabis. There was a 50 percent drop in the percentage of teenagers who admitted to driving after using cannabis.
“These data are consistent with other surveys that show that marijuana regulatory policies can be implemented in a way that provides access for adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and abuse,” said the deputy director of NORML Paul Armentano.
“The figures should reassure parliamentarians”
“These findings should reassure lawmakers and others that access to cannabis for adults can be regulated in ways that do not inadvertently impact the habits of young people.”
Nationwide, there was a 38 percent year-over-year reduction in self-reported marijuana use among eighth graders, a 38 percent decrease among 10th graders, and a decrease of 13 percent among the 12, according to data provided by the University of Michigan. Monitoring the Future survey.
Since Coloradoans legalized the sale of marijuana to adults, lifetime cannabis use has dropped by about 30 percent among high school students and by about 40 percent among high school students. The legalization of adult use in other states has yet to coincide with any significant growth in either youth cannabis use or access to marijuana products.
Additional information on patterns of marijuana use among youth is available from the NORML fact sheet “Marijuana Regulation and Rates of Teen Use.”