Myth Debunked: Cannabis Policy Reform Likely Does Not Increase Teen Consumption
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A survey released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates the rate of cannabis consumption amongst high school students in the United States have remained flat the past two years, despite major cannabis policy reform and increases in public support towards legalization.
CDC Releases Youth Risk Behavior Survey
As voters of Florida get ready to vote on Amendment 2 in the fall to allow medical marijuana for patients in need, opponents recently launched the “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” campaign on Tuesday. Those associated with the campaign warn that the measure, if passed, would lead to widespread abuse.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which is released every other year.
“This debunks the theory that openly discussing the benefits of legalizing marijuana for adults will result in more teen use.” – Mason Tvert
According to the survey, there has not been a significant increase in the rate of cannabis use among high school students in the U.S. from 2011 to 2013.
Despite major changes within that time period, including the decriminalization laws approved by state legislatures in Rhode Island and Vermont, the implemented legalization laws in both Colorado and Washington, and major increases in support around the country for regulating cannabis both medically and recreationally, the cannabis use among teens in the U.S. has not spiked as some may have presumed.
In fact, according to the survey’s findings in the past, the rates of cannabis usage with high school students today is still not as high as it was back in 1995, 1997, 1999, and even 2001. Offering his thoughts on the survey is Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP):
“This debunks the theory that openly discussing the benefits of legalizing marijuana for adults will result in more teen use. The public dialogue surrounding marijuana is more balanced and honest than ever before. We should be encouraging teens to take part in it, not shielding them from it.”
Alcohol, Cigarette Use Declining According to Study
A major claim being made by the “Don’t let Florida Go to Pot” campaign is that it Amendment 2 will make it easier for high school children to access cannabis. However, this claim seems to be discredited by the recent CDC study as well.
Even though cannabis use has remained relatively consistent throughout the years with high school students, rates of both alcohol and cigarettes have declined significantly.
In fact, alcohol use among U.S. high school students has shown the largest decrease margin than ever before and tobacco use with high school students continuously has been declining since 2005 according to the YRBS.
This is a very fascinating find, and may indicate teens are truly recognizing the extreme dangers with consuming alcohol.
Furthermore, Tvert believes it points to the benefits of regulation. “Rates of teen alcohol and cigarette use have dropped, and we didn’t have to arrest any adults for using them,” he indicated. “We could see the same results by regulating marijuana.”
The Marijuana Policy Project was founded in 1995 in Washington, DC. The founders were members of NORML, but felt the organization should be more proactive. In turn, they broke away and started the MPP.In the …