As the 2020 presidential race already begins picking up momentum, many presidential hopefuls are voicing their perspective on the issue of cannabis legalization.
In particular, more and more potential candidates are addressing some of the longstanding myths about the purported “dangers” of legalization.
The most recent example of this comes from former Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper. He recently talked about whether or not legalization leads to increased use among teens.
Speaking from his experience in Colorado, Hickenlooper sent a clear message: legalization does not lead to a spike in teen consumption.
Hickenlooper Speaks Out About Teen Pot Consumption
It is fairly common to hear opponents of legalization complain about teen consumption. In particular, many claim that legalizing weed will encourage more teens to smoke weed.
But those fears have consistently been proven wrong. Recently, Democratic presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper explained all this to the media.
As summarized by Newsy, Hickenlooper said: “We were worried about teenage consumptino going up, when kids’ brains are rapidly growing, what it could do.”
“We were worried about the riskss of, you know, more people drivin while high. And I have to say, at this point, most of our fears havent’ come tru. We have’t seen a spike in consumption.”
Hickenlooper Backed Up By Stats
Hickenlooper’s comments come largely from his experience serving as governor of Colorado. In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize
But his comments also speak beyond his own firsthand political experience. They’re also backed up by multiple studies and surveys.
Most recently, a survey in Colorado revealed a number of interesting findings about teens and weed. Key trends include:
- 59 percent of teens in Colorado say they have never consumed cannabis.
- 22 percent of teens say they have consumed cannabis only once or twice in their lives.
- 8 percent of teens say they consume weed once a month or less.
Importantly, all these numbers are more or less in line with national averages. And even more importantly, they do not show a notable increase in teen rates of consumption since legalization.
And studies in other weed-legal states have reached similar conclusions. For example, a 2017 study in Washington found that teens are not consuming more weed after the state legalized recreational cannabis.
National Trends Show No Spike in Teen Marijuana Consumption
Beyond the level of weed-legal states, national rates of teen marijuana consumption remain stable—even as more and more states legalize.
Take, for example, the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey. This study found that cannabis consumption among teenagers has remained more or less the same no matter what happens with legalization.
Key findings from this study include:
- Marijuana use among eighth graders has declined in recent years, falling from 6.5 percent to 5.4 percent.
- Daily marijuana use among eighth graders dropped from 1.1 percent in 2015 to 0.7 percent in 2016.
- Among tenth graders, cannabis consumption has remained stable. But researchers also noted that current rates of consumption in this cohort are actually the lowest they’ve been in over two decades.
- Among high schoolers, 6 percent say they consume marijuana daily. And 22 percent say they consume it monthly. These figures are essentially the same as prior years.
All things considered, there does not seem to be any real foundation to the fear that legalization will create a dangerous spike in teen marijuana consumption.