Marijuana Use Down Among Teens In Colorado After Legalization

Marijuana use among teens in Colorado has declined by at least 2% in the past 2 years


Image Credit: Flickr / Torben Hansen

By John Vibes,

True Activist.

According to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey released by the Department of Public Health and Environment, Marijuana use among teens in Colorado has been declining over the past two years.  According to the statistics, habitual marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 during the same time period.  Additionally, there has been a 5 percent drop in teen use since the medical marijuana dispensaries entered the state 3 years ago.

Advocates of legalization say that bringing the substance onto the legal market actually doesn’t make it more attractive for children as many politicians and prohibitionists suggest.

“As the culture normalizes cannabis into it, what’s happening is that adults are setting a good example of cannabis use, and kids are finding it kind of boring,” Shawn Coleman, a Colorado marijuana lobbyist, told The Durango Herald.

These findings mirror the statistics that have come from Portugal since the country has ended prohibition entirely, even for hard drugs.  In Portugal where drugs have been decriminalized for some time now there has actually been a double digit drop in drug use by school age children.

Many children have houses that are filled with alcohol, yet most of them find it way easier to get drugs than to get alcohol even though alcohol is legal.  Even if there were no legal age restrictions on alcohol, the societal and family norms would be just as effective at deterring children from then a formal prohibition policy.  If we look overseas at countries that don’t have age restrictions on alcohol, younger people are oftentimes much more mature and informed about its effects than children in the west, and are more likely to make responsible decisions about mind altering substances.

Another interesting statistic to emerge from Colorado since legalization is the fact that the murder rate in Denver has been cut in half since the prohibition ended.

According to statistics recently released by the government in Denver, the amount of robberies and violent crimes significantly decreased since marijuana legalization went into effect. It is important to mention that this strong correlation is not definitive proof that legalization is the cause of this drop in crime, but it does strongly suggest that this is the case.These statistics are especially convincing considering the short amount of time that this drastic reduction in crime has taken place.  In just one short year the number of homicides dropped by 52.9%.  Sexual assaults were reduced by 13.6%. Robberies were down by 4.8% and assaults were down by 3.7%.  The statistics measured the first few months of the year for both 2013 and 2014, and then compared those numbers with one another to determine whether they were higher or lower after legalization went into effect.
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