An astonishing discovery about marijuana use among teens is causing a lot of debate between various advocacy groups.
A huge new report is out from the National Institute of Drug Abuse that comes to a rather incredible conclusion: there’s been absolutely no increase in marijuana use for the third year in a row despite growing support for its legalization nationwide. The Monitoring the Future survey examined 50,000 high school students and found that a lot fewer teens reported using any illicit drug, other than marijuana, compared to the prior 12-month period than at any time since 1991.
And that’s not all. The rates of alcohol and tobacco use among teens are plummeting as well, with 36 percent admitting to drinking alcohol in the previous year compared to 67 percent in 1991. A total of 63 percent of 12th graders had smoked a cigarette at some point in 1991, compared to 28 percent today.
Vaping even declined for the first time since it started being tracked in 2011.
But it’s the fact that marijuana use isn’t increasing that’s really surprising. People have been pushing pot as a safe drug that should be made legal, and state after state has been passing laws to legalize it or at least decriminalize it. But despite this push, there’s no sign that people are toking up more.
“Marijuana use in the past month among eighth graders dropped significantly in 2016 to 5.4 percent, from 6.5 percent in 2015,” the NIH report states. “Daily use among eighth graders dropped in 2016 to 0.7 percent from 1.1 percent in 2015. However, among high school seniors, 22.5 percent report past month marijuana use and 6 percent report daily use; both measures remained relatively stable from last year. Similarly, rates of marijuana use in the past year among 10th graders also remained stable compared to 2015, but are at their lowest levels in over two decades.
“The survey also shows that there continues to be a higher rate of marijuana use among 12th graders in states with medical marijuana laws, compared to states without them. For example, in 2016, 38.3 percent of high school seniors in states with medical marijuana laws reported past year marijuana use, compared to 33.3 percent in non-medical marijuana states, reflecting previous research that has suggested that these differences precede enactment of medical marijuana laws.”