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Legal weed hasn't turned all of Colorado's teens into stoners

Legal weed hasn't turned all of Colorado's teens into stoners


420, no thanks

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A common argument against legalizing marijuana in the US has been that it would make weed more accessible to teens, even with age requirements for purchase. Legalize weed, the theory goes, and suddenly every teen in the country will buy a VW van and get a Spicoli haircut (no haircut). Turns out, that didn't happen — at least not in Colorado. According to a 2015 survey of more than 17,000 middle and high school students, marijuana use among teens did not increase significantly after legalization.

Not that many teens are vaping weed

As the Denver Post points out, this is the second time the survey (conducted by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment every other year) has found that weed use among teens remained flat year over year. The 2015 survey found that 21.2 percent of teens admitted to using marijuana in the last month. In 2013 that number was 19.7 percent, but, as the Denver Post points out, that difference is statistically insignificant. Those numbers are similar nationwide. In a 2015 survey from the CDC, 21.7 percent of teens said they had used marijuana within the last month.

There are some other interesting statistics in the survey report. For example, when asked how they had used weed, 91 percent said they smoked it, 28 percent said dabbing, another 28 percent said they ate it, and 21 percent said they vaped.

Although marijuana has been legalized for medical use for more than a decade in Colorado, the state didn't legalize weed for recreational use (21 or older) until 2014. Last year, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported that legal cannabis brought in more than $700 million in 2014.