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Colorado Reports Teen Cannabis Use Is Down, but Adults Are Toking Up

A pair of newly released surveys from Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment indicate that legal weed regulations are working as planned.

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Photo via Cannabis Reports

In Colorado, more adults are experimenting with cannabis than ever before. But as legalization continues to do away with the stigmas of prohibition’s past, the Centennial State’s leadership in cannabis reform has also decreased local teenage pot use, assuaging the primary worry of anti-weed advocates.

According to Westword, two 2017 studies recently published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) report an incredibly successful third year of recreational reefer regulation in the state.

In the first of the two government-led studies, CDPHE’s 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, state health officials questioned more than 15,000 local middle and high schoolers about everything from bullying and sexual health to exercise and drug use. When it came to weed, 19% of teens surveyed said that they used cannabis, down 1% from 2013 statistics, before the plant was legalized for recreational sale.

Since breaking ground as the first U.S. state to implement adult-use marijuana legalization, Colorado has focused significant effort on disauding teenage consumption. In addition to strict purchasing restrictions, Colorado’s dispensary taxes have helped fund education initiatives to teach youth about the potential dangers of cannabis on the developing brain.

“Preventing young people from using marijuana is a statewide priority,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said after the survey results were announced. “While youth use hasn’t gone up, we are working hard to educate Colorado parents and their children about the health and legal risks of underage marijuana use.”

But while high schoolers are largely staying away from the sticky-icky, a separate CDPHE study suggests that their parents are taking full advantage of the state’s more than 500 licensed pot shops.

Another state-run annual survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, found that 15.5% of adults 18 years and older said that they were current cannabis users, up two percentage points from last year alone.

“The marijuana market in Colorado is evolving,” CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wolk said in a statement released alongside the behavioral risk study. “Our job is to make sure those who choose to use marijuana, use it safely, legally and responsibly.”

In yet another government-sponsored research initiative released this summer, the Colorado Department of Public Safety concluded that, despite those jumps in adult use of cannabis, the state’s legal weed laws did not influence a significant spike in homelessness.

The Centennial State’s 2017 data gives credence to previous reports from private cannabis industry analytics firms, whose own research suggests that cannabis use is spiking among Colorado adults.

As states across America continue to pass their own legalization laws and draw slices of Colorado’s green rush tourism, it appears that a growing local love for ganja will keep the state’s cannabis industry and residents mile-high for years to come.

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