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Teens Aren't Smoking Weed Even Though It's Legal, Study Says

The study tested 17,000 teenagers across the state of Colorado and found that the rate of teenagers who smoke weed has remained relatively the same since it was legalized two years ago.
June 21, 2016, 6:58pm

Legal weed has been generally pretty positive for Colorado. It's given the state extra revenue to pretty up its parks and help the homeless out, and it's also helped people who want to get high get high without having to call a drug dealer and struggle through the shame of using stupid code words.

Marijuana legalization in the state has also shown us what a nation of legal weed might look like for teens, thanks to a study from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment—and it isn't going to turn America's youth into an army of do-nothing stoners.


After randomly sampling about 17,000 middle and high school students across the state of Colorado, researchers found that the rate of marijuana use among teenagers stayed relatively the same since it was legalized.

"Four out of five Colorado high school students have not used marijuana in the last 30 days," the study says, "a rate that remains relatively unchanged since 2013." And Colorado teenagers are just as likely to have smoked weed in the last month as those nationwide, which is currently 21.7 percent of all teens. In 2013, that number was closer to 20 percent for Colorado teens.

According to the Washington Post, the numbers have probably stayed stagnant because pot is already pretty easy to get—over half of the teenagers polled said they could easily get weed if they wanted it—so dispensaries aren't really going to affect how they score dank nugs, especially since residents have to be 21 to legally purchase it.

That said, the study is really the first of its kind to poll a wide number of teenagers and nail down hard data behind how two years of legal weed actually affected a state's youth population, disproving critics' worries that it would catapult drug use among kids.

Nationally, fewer teens are lighting up than five years ago, so it's also possible that smoking weed is just another thing that young people don't think is cool anymore.

Read: Remembering All the Dirtbag Ways We Smoked Weed as Teenagers

Photo via Flickr user Brooke Hoyer