The percentage of young people who acknowledge consuming cannabis and having ready access to it declined sharply between 2020 and 2021, according to statewide data provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDHPE).

Researchers reported a 35 percent year-over-year decline in the percentage of teens who admitted having consumed cannabis products within the past 30 days. They also reported a 22 percent drop in the percentage of teens who said that they could easily access cannabis. There was a 50 percent drop in the percentage of teens who admitted having driven after using cannabis. 

“These data are consistent with other surveys showing that marijuana regulation policies can be implemented in a manner that provides access for adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and misuse,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “These findings ought to reassure lawmakers and others that cannabis access for adults can be regulated in ways that do not inadvertently impact young people’s habits.”

Nationwide, there was a 38 percent year-over-year reduction in self-reported marijuana use among eighth graders, a 38 percent decline among 10th graders, and a 13 percent decrease among 12th graders, according to data provided by the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey.

Since Coloradoans legalized adult-use marijuana sales, lifetime cannabis use has fallen an estimated 30 percent among high-schoolers and an estimated 40 percent among middle-schoolers. Adult-use legalization in other states has also failed to overlap with any significant uptick in either young people’s use of cannabis or access to marijuana products.

Additional information regarding marijuana use patterns among young people is available from the NORML fact sheet “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

-NORML

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