Teenagers smoking less marijuana, say it’s harder to find, study shows

In 2016, 8th-grade and 10th-grade respondents to the large Monitoring the Future survey gave the lowest-ever indication that marijuana was easy to get if they wanted it, a question posed to the groups every year since 1992. Only 34.6 percent of 8th-grade students said it would be easy to get marijuana, down 2.4 percentage points. Of 10th graders, 64 percent said it would be easy to get, also the lowest rate ever, though not a statistically significant annual drop.


Actual use of the drug dropped among 8th-grade students and stagnated among 12th graders while annual use continued a five-year decline among 10th-grade students, Nelson’s research shows.

As trend lines point down or stagnate for surveyed teens, eight states and the nation’s capital have legalized recreational pot for adults 21 and older, led by Colorado and Washington in 2012. More than half have passed laws allowing medical pot markets, beginning with California in 1996.

“Every time a state considers rolling back marijuana prohibition, opponents predict it will result in more teen use. Yet the data seems to tell a very different story,” says Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The best way to prevent teen marijuana use is education and regulation, not arresting responsible adult consumers and depriving sick people of medical marijuana.”


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