Teenage Marijuana use Decreased after Legalization
Folks opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana often use drug addiction as a reason for why it shouldn’t be legalized, citing that weed could be a gateway drug. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, and a new poll shows that marijuana use amongst teenagers in legal marijuana states has decreased, not increased, since legalization.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that marijuana use by teenagers has gone down in legal marijuana states as well as countrywide. Not only is teen marijuana use down, young folks are also decreasing their use of other intoxicants. The poll reported that heroin use has decreased slightly, and alcohol use is also down for people between 18 and 25. Some marijuana advocates, including health professionals, believe that marijuana can lead to less opioid addiction because many people prefer natural and safe cannabis to the perils of alcohol and deadly drugs. People have also found relief from cannabis that they did not experience with prescription drugs.
One of the driving forces responsible for getting recreational marijuana legalized in Colorado, Brian Vicente said in a statement that the reason less teens are smoking could be that there are more stringent consequences in the recreational cannabis law for selling weed to people who are underage. “The days of arresting thousands of adults in order to prevent teens from using marijuana are over,” he said. “These survey results should come as welcome news to anyone who worried teen marijuana use would increase following legalization. As a proponent of Amendment 64 and a parent of two young children, they certainly came as welcome news to me.”
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, the same class as heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine. No one has ever died from overdosing on marijuana.