How Prevalent is Underage Cannabis Consumption?

Every year, a survey called Monitoring the Future polls over 40,000 high school students nationwide on their drug consumption habits. Here’s how things have changed since 1996.

As indicated in the chart, cannabis use among high schoolers took a dip around 2008 and has slowly crept upward in recent years. However, you’ll notice a trend downward again after 2013. Interestingly enough, that’s about when Washington’s and Colorado’s legal recreational cannabis markets debuted.

Colorado and Washington may have been the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, but medical marijuana and decriminalization laws have emerged in dozens of states over the last two decades. Changing attitudes toward cannabis are a necessary precedent for legislative change, so it’s important to keep in mind that data before 2012 recreational laws are still relevant and important. That being said, it’s significant that we’ve seen an overall downward trend since medical marijuana debuted in 1996.

Another notable statistic not represented in the graph is a 6 percent decline in alcohol use since 2002 among 12 to 17 year-olds. Tobacco also fell from just over 15 percent to about 8 percent in the same period.  read more

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