After Legalizing Recreational Weed, Teen Use In Colorado Lower Than Rest Of Country

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Carey Wedler via,

Cannabis prohibitionists have long cautioned that legalizing the plant will inevitably lead to increased use among teens, couching their restrictive beliefs in concern for the youth. While some of these concerns may be genuine, a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstrates — for the second year in a row — that youth in Colorado do not use cannabis any more than teens in other parts of the country. In fact, by at least one measure, they use less.

The Healthy Kids Colorado survey is a “voluntary survey that collects anonymous, self-reported health information from middle and high school students across Colorado,” according to the initiative’s website. Over 17,000 middle- and high-schoolers throughout the state were randomly selected to participate. The survey is conducted every other year, and the 2015 version, released this week, confirmed the 2013 findings that marijuana use among teens in Colorado had fallen flat.

As the Denver Post reported:

The 2013 version of the survey found that 19.7 percent of teens had used marijuana in the past month. The 2015 version puts that number at 21.2 percent, but Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that increase is not statistically significant — meaning it could be a wiggle in the data and not a meaningful increase. In 2009, at the beginning of the state’s boom in medical marijuana stores, the rate was 24.8 percent.

The survey analysts found 78 percent of teens, roughly four out of five, had not used cannabis in the last month.

In addition to the survey’s conclusions that cannabis use among youth failed to skyrocket — as detractors from legalization predicted it would — the survey found cannabis use among teens in the state was actually lower than teens around the country, solidifying prior research that has found teen use does not increase with legalization. Whereas 21.7 percent of teens across the country currently use cannabis, 21.2 percent do so in Colorado. While the difference is small — and therefore attributable to statistical variables — at the very least, the rates are nearly identical, indicating legalizing the plant does not create a cavalcade of teenage stoners wantonly puffing dope on the streets.

Rather, the most widely-used drug, the survey found, was alcohol, with 59 percent of Colorado teens saying they had used it at least once (compared to 63 percent across the rest of the country). In contrast, just 38 percent of Colorado teens said they had used cannabis, tying with the teens across the rest of the country. Colorado teens’ use of alcohol fell several percentage points from the 2011 and 2013 surveys, both for teens who had ever used the drug and those who had binged on it — five or more drinks in a day — in the last 30 days. Nevertheless, alcohol remained the most commonly used drug, with 30 percent of teens admitting they had used it in the last month.

Cigarette use was also at an all-time low, though more than a quarter of Colorado teens said they had used an e-cigarette or vape pen in the previous 30 days.

Though cannabis prohibitionists continue to sound alarms about the dangers of legalizing a plant, research continues to show many of these concerns are unfounded. One study recently showed driving with marijuana in one’s system is less dangerous than alcohol, and may actually be equivalent to driving sober. Another study found states with medical marijuana have fewer opiate-related deaths. Considering prescription drugs were the third most commonly used drug among teens after alcohol and cannabis in Colorado — and remains a problem for youth and adults in the country at large — these findings are particularly relevant.

Even Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who initially vehemently opposed legalization, has admitted he may have been too quick to pass judgment. Though he initially called Colorado voters “wreckless” — and then “risky” — for voting to legalize, he backtracked last month. “If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.

He admitted legalizing marijuana was “not as vexing as we thought it was going to be.”

As Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project observed:

The predictions of fire and brimstone have failed to materialize. Most Coloradans, including the governor, recognize that the law is working.”

As cannabis “refugees” make their way to states like Colorado to obtain life-saving treatment for themselves and their children, the government’s own data increasingly backs up the validity of making the plant accessible — without the threat of harsh consequences from the State.

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Zero-Hegemon's picture

C'mon Tylers, get with it. Smoking is so 2010. They've moved on to edibles now.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


I support the right of others to enable their children's use of mind-altering chemicals.

I support the right of others to encourage their sons into military service.

I support the right of others to babysit their children with television.

I support the right of others to teach their children to live off the government.

I support the right of others to have their children attend religious services that preach hate.

I support the right of others to teach their children victimhood.

I support the right of others to raise their children in an alcoholic home.

I support the right of others to raise their children in an obese home.

I support the right of others to abort their children, but it really, really, hurts.

So, I shall not pretend to be surprised by the consequences.


Sometimes it is damn hard being a Libertarian.

Tarzan's picture

I support you right to alter your mind with caffeine, and sugar...

ParkAveFlasher's picture

McDonald's is a mood-altering substance.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) ParkAveFlasher Jun 23, 2016 2:14 PM


1980XLS's picture

Hillary Clinton is a mood altering substance. And hazardous to one's health as well.

cheech_wizard's picture

And what the fuck is wrong with caffeine? 

Standard Disclaimer: Obviously not a programmer and never has coded a single line on a computer ever.


Tarzan's picture

Nothing, yet it does alter the mind....  as does just about everything else you put in your pie hole.


Marijuana and Driving: A Review of the Scientific Evidence

It is well established that alcohol increases accident risk. Evidence of marijuana’s culpability in on-road driving accidents is much less convincing.

Although cannabis intoxication has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting. In driving simulator tests, this impairment is typically manifested by subjects decreasing their driving speed and requiring greater time to respond to emergency situations.

Nevertheless, this impairment does not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents. A 2002 review of seven separate studies involving 7,934 drivers reported, “Crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes.” This result is likely because subject under the influence of marijuana are aware of their impairment and compensate for it accordingly, such as by slowing down and by focusing their attention when they know a response will be required. This reaction is just the opposite of that exhibited by drivers under the influence of alcohol, who tend to drive in a more risky manner proportional to their intoxication.

Today, a large body of research exists exploring the impact of marijuana on psychomotor skills and actual driving performance. This research consists of driving simulator studies, on-road performance studies, crash culpability studies, and summary reviews of the existing evidence. To date, the result of this research is fairly consistent: Marijuana has a measurable yet relatively mild effect on psychomotor skills, yet it does not appear to play a significant role in vehicle crashes, particularly when compared to alcohol. Below is a summary of some of the existing data.

cheech_wizard's picture

I asked what was wrong with caffeine. 

You gave me the "this is what may or may not be wrong with marijuana use" speech.

Standard Disclaimer: It's none of my business what you do or what you ingest, as long as I don't have to pay for anything resulting from your actions. That's reasonable, isn't it? Oh shit, there's that personal responsibility argument raising it's ugly head again.

(Damn, I should write the laws...I think I could get it down to a couple of pages... and I'm damn well sure I could do better than this...


froze25's picture

No, injured party. No law broken. The good old days. Before the sham that is Statutory Law existed.

Tarzan's picture

No, I answered your question,

You asked what's wrong with caffeine, my answer was nothing!

Just pointing out the hypocrisy of demonizing one mind altering drug, while consuming another.

The alleged speech, a link to scientific studies on the subject, was just food for thought, and unrelated to your question...

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Just pointing out the hypocrisy of demonizing one mind altering drug, while consuming another.


I didn't read anyone demonizing a mind altering drug.

Sounds to me like you are once again making another of your fallacious claims.

"You lump all the veterans together..."


A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.


The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e. "stand up a straw man") and then to refute or defeat that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition.

Tarzan's picture

Tell me Horseman,

when were your meetings with Trump, before he ran for president in 1999?

Tarzan's picture

When you asked your tough questions to your coffee shop vets, were you drinking decaff?

You say to forgo mind altering drugs, do you not?

And when you say MOST vets don't give a shit, what is it they don't give a shit about, axactly?

Tarzan's picture

"NOBODY is ready, willing, or able to ask and/or answer questions of substance."

Nobody, Except you apparently.

How many Politicians are in the back pocket of Jerry Jones and Trump? You had a one on one meeting with both, more then once, and asked no tough questions, because it was inappropriate according to you.

I suspect I've spent far more time around vets then you, I could be wrong. While I never served, I spent the first 16 years of my life living in military housing, up and down the east coast, from Brunswick Maine to Key West.

I've found, unlike the "dozens" you've spoken to, MOST vets come home disillusioned with the wars we foment, even though they have no clue the shenanigans the USA has pulled to draw us into those wars.

"BOTH of us may be guilty of the hasty generalization."

I agreed and admitted you only said "most", do you agree with yourself?

Your just a bit uppity to go unchallenged in my opinion!

Fiction Peddler's picture

"Standard Disclaimer: It's none of my business what you do or what you ingest, as long as I don't have to pay for anything resulting from your actions. "

Prohibitionists love to bring this up, citing health care costs, but as usual they haven't thought it through.

How much do you pay in increased insurance premiums due to OTHERS obesity, sedentary lifestyles, junk food, sports injuries, glyphosate consumption, and risky or unhealthy lifestyles in general? I would guess it's 99% more than you pay for drug-related ER visits.   Are these not choices by others that cost you?

Yet, where's the outcry over this? "Oh, that's stuff I do, so it's okay" says the typical mind-numbed moron.

Captain Chlamydia's picture

In the Netherlands a university tested driving under influence of XTC. The subjects drove better. 

Now that is a study that was not given much attention. 

ebear's picture

"Sometimes it is damn hard being a Libertarian."

I've found minding my own business works fairly well. Maybe you should start there?

hedgeless_horseman's picture


If the government would only do the same, that would be great.

Clearly, minding your own business does not include your comments and suggestions on this website, just others comments and suggestions.

Thanks for your advice, but I will continue to exercise my right to free speech, which is partially protected under the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Jeffersonian Liberal's picture

Hmm. No mention on whether use of hemp is down among teens because they've moved on to meth.

I guess that wouldn't fit the narrative.

shovelhead's picture

Why would they smoke hemp? To get a headache?

Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

The EXTREMELY slippery slope you just highlighted 9 times out of 10 leads to CPS involvement in a highly centralized bureaucratic society.. And should be avoided at all costs. 

The only one I disagree with is:

'I support the right of others to abort their children, but it really, really, hurts'

Do no harm... 

harami's picture

I support all those things as well. What I don't support is people bitching about the consequences years later and expecting a hand out.

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Our government mandated health insurance premiums support exactly that, now that we are all swimming in the same filthy Obamacare risk pool.

froze25's picture

It be nice if people supported the rights of others to do the opposite.

Freddie's picture

Edibles are so 2014.  We have moved onto THC suppositories.

Zero-Hegemon's picture

I though edibles were ORAL suppositories

1980XLS's picture

Obama talks out of his ass. So they're kinda the same.

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture
"After Legalizing Recreational Weed, Teen Use In Colorado Lower Than Rest Of Country"


Well I use teens all the time.

Zero-Hegemon's picture

Really? I'd like to find one to cut my lawn. Where'd they all go?

1980XLS's picture

Smoking weed kills ambition.

Lazy stoned teens would much rather smoke grass, than mow it.

froze25's picture

BS, I love mowing my lawn after smoking grass.

Zero-Hegemon's picture


PTR's picture

I prefer mowing my wife's.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

Before I turned 16, I used to mow lawns to get money to buy weed. 

Sledge750's picture

They're out behind the shed, smoking weed and lying on surveys.


But they got the best shit!

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Jun 23, 2016 1:48 PM


Marijuana is just a gateway drug to fornicating and homosexuality.  That's why the liberals and hippies want it legalize so that they can destroy this great-n-glorious country!  

Joe Cool's picture

I'd rather be a stoner than a drunk...

Joe Cool's picture

Alcohol just doesn't do my body right...Maybe I don't have a lot of Alcohol Dehydrogenase...

Pot just makes me horny and hungry...

cheech_wizard's picture

I was a very happy drunk. I was a very paranoid stoner.

I'll stick to drinking, a larger variety of tasty flavors, thank you very much.


Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

This coming from the 'cheech_wizard' who would've thought...

The HIGHly hybridized and potent varieties these days are no fucking joke.. if you are truly awake to the nasty reality of globalism(not some Bernie/Occupy fuckmook that wants free shit) using marijuana becomes increasingly paranoia inducing.. similiar to the repeated use of hallucinogens like mushrooms, lsd, etc.. where it becomes less and less enjoyable with each use as your body becomes used to the positive effects and more acutely aware of the negative (paranoia, rumination, mind-racing, unhealthy introspection, mania, etc..) 

AdolphLustig's picture
AdolphLustig (not verified) Utah_Get_Me_2 Jun 23, 2016 2:37 PM

Blah blah blah blah

Well. The law enforcement community is back on zh with their typical uninformed bullshit!

Gots to make them pensions by busting those evil pot heads.

"Oh, you want a cure for cancer?
Fuck that.
My law enforcement religion hates that so no cure for you.
Here, lets arrest you and ruin your life over a plant."

--Every cop ever.

Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

Not a cop. I was speaking from personal experience. After not smoking habitually for almost 4 years, smoking now is not enjoyable on the rare occasion I partake. On another note, have you ever considered the reasons why George Soros pushes for legalization so hard? Why would a Nazi collaborating globalist lunatic want the masses to apathetic zombies... hmmmm 

skinwalker's picture

Anyone who gets paranoid from using too many drugs is obviously doing it wrong. 


I have more direct experience with drugs than you ever will. 

cheech_wizard's picture

>I have more direct experience with drugs than you ever will. 

and you know this because?

Captain Chlamydia's picture

You listen to your government too much. 

Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

Everything I said was from firsthand experience. In my experience hallucinogens are never as fun or enjoyable as the first time and get progressively less fun with each use. Marijuana not so much but I've stopped habitual use for 4 years now after 10 years of smoking daily, and when I occassionaly partake now it cranks the mind racing and paranoia up to 11 if its a Sativa dominant strain. Give me Indicas all day. 

Joe Cool's picture

I don't get paranoid from pot...I get paranoid from overreaching out of control government...

cheech_wizard's picture

Perhaps it's because I grew up in a different era than you where the fines/punishments were far greater than they are today. But regardless, never liked the effects.