The annual Federal Drug Use Survey has found that teen marijuana use has declined this year, proving many critics who claimed legalization would drastically increase teen marijuana use decidedly wrong. The study also found that teen use of alcohol and cigarettes are at their lowest points since the study began polling 8th, 10th, and 12th graders on substance use in 1975.
Though the percentage of teens that use marijuana has steadily increased for the last five years, this year it declined from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2014. Personal disapproval of marijuana use is also down in 8th and 12th graders, proving that pro-pot activists, scientists, and researchers are having some effect on teens. This increase in acceptance but decrease in use is somewhat difficult to explain.
“The belief that regular marijuana use harms the user, however, continues to fall among youth, so changes in this belief do not seem to explain the change in use this year, as it has done over most of the life of the study,” said Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator.
One possible explanation for this anomaly is that reported availability of marijuana is significantly down since 2013 in 8th and 10th grades—yet another prohibitionist point proven wrong.
Not being too far removed from teenage years myself, I wonder if the growing acceptance of the drug has taken away some of its romantic appeal. If your parents are smoking pot or more open about supporting it, its illicitness and allure decrease since it’s no longer a means of rebellion. Or maybe high school kids are just more focused (read: square) than in my day.
Whatever the reason, protectors of the nation’s youth can breathe easy (that is if all the pot smoke clouding the air since legalization doesn’t choke them) knowing that legalization did not, in fact, turn our teens into degenerate, unmotivated drug addicts.