Marijuana Legalization: Colo. Youth Smoking Less Pot

    August 10, 2014
    Mike Tuttle
    Comments are off for this post.

It is a statistic that flies in the face of everything that legalization opponents thought. Despite dire prognostications to the contrary, a new survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reveals that high school-age use of marijuana has dropped from 22% to 20% since pot was legalized there.

The thing that makes this even more stunning is that the attitudes of these kids about pot has changed, as well. They actually have stopped believing the “pot is dangerous” messages they hear from anti-pot voices in the media. Formerly, 58% of high-schoolers “perceived a moderate or great risk from marijuana use”. Now, that number is down to 54%.

So, to be clear, fewer students believe that pot is dangerous. But, nonetheless, fewer students are using it.

The threat that legalizing pot would bring about a rise in use among youth is the pot debate equivalent of “we’ll find WMDs in Iraq and be out of there fast” prediction. It just isn’t materializing. It’s almost as confusing as the fact that traffic fatalities are also down since legalization.

Still, some are doubling down on the worry, despite evidence to the contrary.

“If we want Colorado to be the healthiest state in the nation, then we need to make sure our youngest citizens understand the risks of using potentially harmful substances,” said Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Later this month, we’ll launch a youth prevention campaign that encourages kids not to risk damaging their growing brains by experimenting with marijuana.”

So, even though use is down, they worry that use will go up. This is more of the same logic that was floating around Congress when Colorado first made its decision to legalize.

“As marijuana is de-stigmatized, use goes up, and it finds its way into the homes and candy and cookies and baked goods, and once it gets there, it finds its way into the brains of teens,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said back then. “Marijuana will also become more pervasive as states continue to embrace permissible laws on medical marijuana and the recreational use of marijuana, and kids and youth will have easier access to the dangerous, addictive drug.”

Perhaps these anti-pot folks should stop and think about the fact that these kids aren’t stupid. They don’t buy the “pot is dangerous” argument anymore because they know who is selling it: pharmaceutical companies. Like Chris Rock said, “They don’t want you to use your drugs; they want you to use their drugs.”

Image via YouTube

  • black ghöst

    Great article!

    • Ghost2934

      This is nothing but lies.

      • will

        You sound mad bro let me guess you were one of those people that sayed 10k people would die the first day then say our kids will get hooked on it and start droping out of school. Whats next?

      • Duncan20903

        I understand Ghost2934, it’s a very difficult thing to admit that you’ve been played for a chump by professional confidence artists. But the quicker that you address the issue the better your life will be.

  • Youssef Ismail

    Of course it did. Only a moron would believe an unregulated black market would somehow magically keep drugs away from teens. Last time I checked, drug dealers don’t ID. They don’t close on sunday, shut down at 9:00, and they don’t exclusively push pot. They happen to push hard drugs right along side marijuana, and they provide 24/7 access to every teen in this nation. The rate of teen cigarette use is in the floor, and we did that without arresting millions of people, without wasting hundreds of billions in resources, without funding drug cartels, without creating a violent black market, without any of the bloodshed, and without getting in the way of medical research. Marijuana isn’t magic, of course a regulated market is preferable to an unregulated market, especially if you care about teen use.

  • Gary

    More stoners equals less alcoholics, equals less people on pharmaceuticals, equals less people harms way from the side effects of more dangerous drugs. It has all been but determined that genetics play a role in drug use. Shouldn’t these predisposed people have the choice of a less harmful drug, seeing they will find some escape from the sober reality of the world we live in anyway, Cannabis is, and always has been available in our society, legal or not, and if it was truly detrimental, those problems would have already shown themselves to be present.

  • Tim

    It’s no fun doing something that’s not illegal, so the appeal is waning.

    • cobra

      but ,
      it’s still illegal for teens to possess or to use…

  • DanM

    “Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal” Look it up!

  • Jim Mosier

    Its simple you look at other countries that have less restrictions on the use of drugs & alcohol and those countries have fewer drug & alcohol problems. Teens are rebelious if you tell them its illegal for them to have something they want it more. But if they can readily get it but you explain how its bad for them it doesn’t have that draw to it like it does cause its illegal

    • Daniel Gibbs

      Ive been to Amsterdam…And you are correct :-)

  • –Anonymous–

    Why does ever single issue have to be “about the kids”. Recreational marijuana legalization is for adults. Are teens going to try pot? yes. Are teens going to use pot? yes. Are all of these teens who try it going to be life long addicts? Probably not. It’s up to parents to teach their children about the dangers of using drugs and teach them to make good choices when they are adults. If they choose to use a substance they should be responsible about it.
    Not all children are going to rush to use pot just because it’s legal. There actually is parents who care enough to teach their children good values and responsibility.

    • scaballs

      How many of you would skydive without instruction? As CSN sang,” teach your children well. If the government stopped demonizing cannabis, our knowledge would be more evolved and we could make better decisions about what we put into our bodies.

  • androloma

    Too much reality contradicting the propaganda fallacies.

  • Tristan Jason Ring

    There goes the argument that legalization will lead to more teens using…. Anyone else tired of spending billions of dollars every year trying to fight marijuana? Legalize it, tax it and make money off it. Marijuana can help get us out of debt.

  • Casey

    FALLACY!!!!! The survey was from 2013 and weed sales did not start until 1/1/2014

    • Jack Mehoff

      It was legalized in Colorado at the end of 2012…dummy.

      • Casey

        It was not sold until 2014 dumb shit. Look it up

        • Jack Mehoff

          Lol..I don’t have to look it up I know the facts. recreational sales started in 2014.but this article says the survey was done after it was legalized..which was the end of 2012.sales didn’t start till 2014 but it was legal. it took over a year to get the regulatory system up and running it’s not very difficult dummy.

    • Duncan20903

      Do you think that there was a shortage of cannabis in Colorado previous to 2014? There’s plenty of cannabis out here for anyone that wants some.

      Just because you don’t see something does not mean that it’s not there.

      • Casey

        I’m saying this article is misleading. It makes it sound like weed legalization has caused this. Not the case.

  • Francis Vetter

    I have a bridge to sell you.

    • Tripstick

      Francis, you don’t have a bridge, you have a wall.

  • Francis Vetter

    The pot lobby has been working double time to sell there

    • Tom

      Just like Big Pharma and the Alcoholics…get over it.

    • craig mason

      What pot lobby?

    • surfun

      *their, Francis. Learn to write (and think).

    • Tripstick

      Back in your hole Francis.

    • Youssef Ismail

      Lol, the pot lobby indeed. I thought you loons were convinced it was the “big marijuana” boogieman. Now every time science debunks one of your absurd talking points, we’ll all know it was the invisible “pot lobby” behind it. I swear, you guys are the best. I can’t wait till to hear about the next hoard of invisible monsters that were unleashed thanks to the regulation of marijuana. Who would have guessed, regulating a widely used medicinal plant could have brought such doom and gloom to the world….

      • Francis Vetter

        You mean being debunked by the pot funded lobbyists studies? because ANY reputable study shows Pot is not good for society countrary to what your 1/2 dead brain may think.

        • matt

          the same thing can be said about people who lobby against it right? Me thinks you are a moron! Is a reputable study anything from the gov’t? because WE ALL KNOW THEY NEVER LIE…..PFFFFT!

  • steve novak

    they made the same predictions about the repeal of alchohol they claimed everyone would become an alchoholic as long as u tell people something is bad don’t take it u have to try it human nature.

  • BobH137

    Kids don’t want weed these days for the same reason they don’t use Facebook….

    …because it’s their Parents/Grandparents Drug of Choice… so it must not be very cool! …which is a good thing! Stay out of my Stash Shorty!

  • Sean

    I’m sorry. Are we supposed to take this article seriously? I do not know when “reporting news” turned into “voicing my opinion”. When you use statements like “these anti-pot folks” you become just another blogger who has dug some information of a wiki link and not an actual news reporter. Anyone can find information on the web that supports their thoughts and theories but that is all they will be, thoughts and theories. Get some actual statistical data that has been gleaned from research conducted over a longer period than 6 months. If that is all it takes to give something a strong endorsement then asbestos, lead paint and mild opiate use is perfectly healthy, as long as you don’t look at any data from a study longer than 6 months.


    • Duncan20903

      Ridiculous is more accurately applied to people who judge the credibility of an article by how closely the headline mirrors their beliefs. You do realize that the survey was conducted by the State of Colorado probably in partnership with the Federal Center for Disease Controls and Prevention? You would have had you actually bothered to read the article before regurgitating that hogwash.

      • Sean

        My comment said nothing about the Headline nor my beliefs and the fact that you believe you know my thoughts really makes your reply idiotic. To sum up my statement in simple terms, gain some information that is more substantiated by statistical long term data and not the inconclusive evidence of the recent past. Anyone can copy and paste a “Recent Studies have shown” news article based on anything they believe in. There is a reason Scientific Journals are written by scientists and not by web bloggers. Try using Google to learn why Facts are Facts and Theories are Theories. That might be asking much considering you obviously did not understand my original post.

        • Duncan20903

          I was sharing my thoughts sweetpea, not analyzing the activity in that hollow space in your skull where most people keep their brains.


          • Sean

            You are adorable but a sad failure none the less. If there were simply your thoughts petunia, they would not have been a response to my post. In doing that you directly linked me to your judgement. Sorry but logic wins over an attempt to save face.

          • Duncan20903

            It’s amazing how delusional you people are. Do you actually believe that you know what you’re talking about? You wouldn’t know a fact if it jumped up and bit you on the butt.

            Logic? from that hollow space in your skull where most peoploe keep their brains? You people are good for a belly laugh, not much else.l

    • Youssef Ismail

      Sounds to me like you morons are butt hurt your “sky will fall” predictions all turned out to be as real as vampires. Time to face reality chump, prohibition is over. And we aren’t allowing that mindless stupidity to return. You loons had eighty years to try your little experiment, and it failed spectacularly.

      • Sean

        Please point out some prediction I made. Show me what it is you are referring to because i’m at a loss here. Sounds to me like you, moron, are butt hurt because you tried to read something and were confused into thinking you had a clue either what was said and/or what was implied. Time to face reality chump. Stay in School! A lack of an education creates mindless stupidity (holy redundant). You’re loony in believing you have proved a point beyond that you are in your perfect environment. Lost in your own head. At life, you have failed spectacularly!

  • coltov mocktail

    Sean, if you actually read the report cited in the story, you wouldn’t condemn the reporting so harshly. High school pot use did slightly decline in Colorado according to the state’s department of health – and so did the perception of pot as a dangerous drug. Which is all very counter-intuitive for the “refer madness” crowd but makes perfect sense to the “education equals responsibility” crowd

    • Sean

      What I brought issue with is the short term gathering of information we have so far. I believe honestly that it is wonderful that Teen usage is down. I believe it is wonderful that the completely negative stereotype is being shown as not completely true and therefore allowing people to make their own decisions based upon the full scope of information given. What I take offense to is writers who point fingers in one direction or another and name call while singing praises that they found some information that supports their own beliefs. Give me facts and data that inconclusively gives testimony to your statement, not your personal beliefs. I can get those anywhere. It is the Theory of Gravity because it is not proven and as many arguments for have counters against.

      BTW, If “Education equals responsibility” then our Teen Pregnancy issue in high schools would no longer be an issue. But thank you for at least reading enough of my post to see what I was saying and making an intelligent counter without name calling. That is always appreciated.

      • coltov mocktail

        C’mon! You’re equating pregnancy (without which none of us would be here) with cannabis intake? The perception of teen pregnancy as a social ill is never going to be universal because some teens simply think the miracle of birth far outstrips any socially constructed detriment. Of course, then there are also those who want economic assistance and can’t think of a better way to earn money. So I still think our collective responsibility lies in education rather than in engineering.

        • Sean

          By no means am I attempting to say that pregnancy is not essential to the continued existence of our species, however I highly doubt the majority of teen pregnancy issues stem from a 15 year old wanting to have a child. I would argue that the majority of teen pregnancies were unplanned regardless of the education given on the dangers of unprotected sex. In that context my argument does indeed hold its own merit. For years we were educated that Eggs were the perfect food, and then we were told they were bad for your heart, and yet years later again told they are perfectly fine, just don’t eat the yolk. Cholesterol, Proteins, Carbohydrates are just more examples on how studies evolve with more information over time to attempt to give a clearer picture of short and long term effects on physiology and sociology. What will 5 year, 10 year or 20 year studies show on socioeconomic effects of Cannabis? That is the information I will take more seriously than what has been coming out the last year. Education is definitely one of the most important tools we can utilize to help the younger generations to avoid very costly mistakes in life, however as we have all learned, sometimes the most important lessons we learn are ones that cost us the most pain. The ones we tend to look back on and wish we had listened to those who knew better than we did.

  • USA vs.US

    Drugs are bad period. What about the children you dummies who smoke…? You cough when you smoke it. Does that not put strain on your lungs,or heart…? Next you will think crack should be legalized. If you in an apt and someone lives below or above you with kids,and they smell that stuff(kids dont like the smell). It should be legal to punch you in the face. They are passing these stupid laws to upset the American people and many of you are cheering,so we begin to fight amongst each other. Maybe its time to denounce my american citzenship. I question the american path.

    • –Anonymous–

      I was behind a semi truck with my window rolled down the other day. The fumes cause me to cough and I’m sure they were toxic to breath in. Do you think diesel fuel use can be criminalized.

    • Gene Jackson

      Tobacco kills over 480,000 Americans every year. The anti-drug crowd has never said that tobacco should be illegal. Total hypocrisy.

    • Stacy Easter

      the cough is actually building your lungs…enough to clean any cigarette smoke damage. Kids some do and some don’t like the smell. Just because you don’t, don’t push it because you want to put the kids in the equation. Any one that smokes usually knows not to do it in front of kids. No crack has cocaine in it. And if you feel like you wish to denounce your citizenship, maybe you should. It’s not going to get any better and it can be way worse where you think its safe. If you can’t follow your fellow Americans, maybe you are the problem and not part of the solution.

    • CallingBatman

      Darn near everything has some health hazards. Just crossing the street potentially introduces life threatening hazards. What do you want to do? Ban everything but broccoli and oatmeal and mandate we all wear crash helmets and bubble wrap? The America I love is the one that assumes citizens are responsible for themselves and have rights they can freely exercise, not the one that wants to protect me from myself. Maybe you’d be better off in Europe.

    • Duncan20903

      Anyone who is unable to differentiate between crack and cannabis is in desperate need of a check up from the neck up.

    • cobra

      ok…what are you waiting for…feel froggy?

  • surfun

    Larry Wolk, executive director will come back in a year and say, “See how well our campaign works?! Teen use is down!”

  • Joel Busher

    Drugs – End of the Jury System
    End of the Protection of life, liberty, and Property.

    David Hardy ‘Juror Testimony’ transcript “he felt like…the jury was on
    one big party…seven jurors drank alcohol….Hardy stated that on several
    occasions he observed two jurors having one or two mixed drinks during the
    lunch recess, and one other juror, who was also the foreperson, having a liter
    of wine…three other jurors smoked marijuana quite regularly during the trial.
    Moreover, Hardy stated that during the trail he observed one juror ingest
    cocaine five times and another juror ingest cocaine two or three times. One
    juror sold a quarter pound of marijuana to another juror during the trial, and
    took marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia into the courthouse. Hardy
    noted that some of the jurors were falling asleep during trial, and that one of
    the jurors described himself to Hardy as ‘flying’. (History of the Common Law, page 526)

    • cobra

      and you believe all that illegal activity went on in a jury room? I think there is some lying going on here…

  • svwillson

    The kids probably do it less because their parents and grandparents are doing it. It’s not cool to be doing what the old folks are doing!

  • Ingrid

    How is there a correlation? Legalization or not, it’s illegal to sell cannabis to kids so whether they’re using more or less, any cannabis sold to them is illegal.
    Now they’re focused on candies, cookies and baked goods. Those products should be treated like any other medicated products…KEEP THEM AWAY FROM CHILDREN.

    • Stacy Easter

      excuse me, but kids have been able to get it quicker than adults any day of the year. Any drug should be kept away from children, they have no problem giving them narcotics for pain, psychotropic drugs, and cough syrup with alcohol and codine in it. So even as adults, kids can get the same crap as grown ups without the grown up selling it to them. The government is doing it everyday. My kid some, “moon pods” and almost died. I almost wish she would have chosen pot over this crazy plant. But no, she and her friends decided they wouldn’t do anything illegal. Give a kid an excuse and even cough medicine can be taken to overdose to get a high. I had to learn this the hard way. So yes this shouldn’t be sold to kids, they also need to be taught the dangers of overdosing on something that could kill them. I’d rather they smoke pot and not die. I’ve watched some, “hippys” smoke pot everyday of my life and not one shows any problems. I know alcoholics that drink everyday, they have lost everything. Not to mention the damage that does to your body.

    • Duncan20903

      Who’s more likely to enforce age restrictions? Would that be the criminal that commits felonies in the expected course of business or a regulated business owned by a licensed businessman who knows that he’s going to lose his license if he doesn’t enforce the age restrictions?

  • CallingBatman

    How many stories like this do we need before we just stop dinking around and legalize it at the Federal level? Continuing the war on marijuana is moronic, expensive and an affront to personal liberties. If a local entity votes to keep it illegal, fine. But nationwide? Stop the madness!

  • Duncan20903

    According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the youth use rate of drinking alcohol has declined substantially between 1991 and 2013:

    Ever had at least one drink of alcohol (on at least 1 day during their life)
    1991: 81.6%
    2013: 66.2%

    Drank alcohol before age 13 years (for the first time other than a few sips)
    1991: 32.7%
    2013: 18.6%

    Currently drank alcohol (at least one drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey)
    1991: 50.8%
    2013: 34.9%

    Had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row (within a couple of hours on at
    least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey)
    1991: 31.3%
    2013: 20.8%

    • Duncan20903

      According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the youth use rate of smoking tobacco has declined substantially between 1991 and 2013:

      Ever tried cigarette smoking (even one or two puffs)
      1991: 70.1%
      2013: 41.1%

      Smoked a whole cigarette before age 13 years (for the first time)
      1991: 23.8%
      2013: 9.3%

      Currently smoked cigarettes (on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey)
      1991: 27.5%
      2013: 15.7%

      Currently smoked cigarettes frequently (on 20 or more days during the 30 days before the survey)
      1991: 12.7%
      2013: 5.6%

      Smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day (among students who currently smoked cigarettes on the days they smoked during the 30 days before the survey)
      1991: 18.0%
      2013: 8.6%

      Smoked cigarettes on all 30 days (during the 30 days before the survey)
      1991: 9.8%
      2013: 4.0%

      • Duncan20903

        But surprise, surprise, surprise, the youth use rates of cannabis increased significantly between 1991 and 2013:

        Ever used marijuana (one or more times during their life)
        1991: 31.3%
        2013: 40.7%

        Tried marijuana before age 13 years (for the first time)
        1991: 7.4%
        2013: 8.6%

        Currently used marijuana (one or more times during the 30 days before the survey)
        1991: 14.7%
        2013: 23.4%

    • Duncan20903


  • Tyler

    Like I have always said, if you tell a human (particularly a kid) not to do something, they are going to want to do the opposite. If marijuana is looked at as an outlawed drug that makes you look cool, then obviously that will attract a large portion of youth to smoke it. For example, you tell your kid in an antique store not to touch anything, what is going to be on there mind the whole time? TOUCHING THINGS. I am 100% for marijuana legalization as it is a way better alternative than tobacco and alcohol for people, and creates more problems when it is illegal. Put the money in good hands to improve our country rather than in the hands of criminals. I smoke marijuana plenty, have taken IQ tests and scored a 137, after around 3 years of using marijuana (pretty moderately, maybe a little on the high end). I can now say I just recently found a job, am a 3.0 college student, and haven’t smoked in the past month due to looking for a job. There is no physical dependency with marijuana people that say there is an addiction are stupid.

  • the truth is glorious

    Nothing new here. These results could, and have already been predicted by past history. Portugal legalized everything and instead of it being a legal issue it became a health issue. People started getting treatment for what dependencies they had and drug use dropped across the board. THAT is what republicans are so afraid of.

  • Cannaoil-Supporter

    So uh, where’s the actual source? You didn’t actually source anything that has any reputable proof or shows what your article represents, just a survey currently being taken under way. No charts, no scientific studies with a controlled environment, and no definitive proof of the evidence supporting this article or it’s claim.

    You don’t have any, do you?

  • scaballs

    And, Your pets will want to get high, and all fluffy wants to do is pull up some couch and sleep the day away. Maybe Sara Palin can come up with a good idea that would help.