When marijuana legalization first became a topic of discussion in the state of Colorado, many opponents were quick to disagree with the decision, claiming that doing so would only result in an increase of those under the age of 21 using the drug. Once recreational legalization went into effect, teens in Colorado were immediately put under the spotlight, receiving national attention based on their frequency of marijuana use – mainly because Colorado was one of the first to pass legalization laws, other states and lawmakers wanted to observe how the change impacted the people living here.
Despite what naysayers thought was going to happen, results from multiple surveys have disproved their theory, and have actually shown almost the opposite to be occurring. The most recent statistics focusing on youth cannabis use in Colorado show that no increase has happened since 2009, and that rates have pretty much remained stable from then to now. The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is conducted every two years, with the most current results being gathered from a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado in the year 2015. In 2009, the rate of teens in Colorado who answered to using pot during the survey was 42.6 percent. The number shrank to 36.9 percent in 2013, and stayed relatively the same in 2015, coming in at 38 percent. Statistics from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey document that 21 percent of Colorado youths have used marijuana in the past 30 days, which is slightly lower than the national average and down from the amount that it was back in 2009, prior to legalization. These survey results parallel others that were performed in Colorado, with another pointing out that the rate of teens in the state who say they have ever used marijuana, even just once, has also still remained stable. In reality, making weed legal probably didn’t have too much of an effect on kids smoking, because those that wanted to do it, were probably already doing so prior to the change in legislation, and are purchasing it from another source besides a legal dispensary.