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California Teens Have Decreased Their Cannabis Use, Study Shows

A new study from the California Healthy Kids Survey shows that — despite increased legalization, mainstream attention, and a cultural and political shift towards a cannabis-friendly society — teenagers in California are actually using cannabis less frequently.

The biennial study, funded by California’s health and education departments, was released on Monday and covers the years 2015-2017. The last time such a study was released was for the years 2013-2015.

The study authors wrote that “although marijuana use has been declining, it remains the second most popular drug among high school students after alcohol… How the recent legalization of marijuana use for adults in California effects the declining trend among youth warrants attention.”

The study investigated cannabis usage rates among 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.

  • 4.2 percent of 7th graders said they had used cannabis; for the study during 2013-2015, 7.9 percent of 7th graders reported having used marijuana
  • 17.4 percent of 9th graders said they had used cannabis; 23.1 percent of 9th graders said so during the previous study
  • 31.9 percent of 11th graders said they had used cannabis; that number was 37.9 percent for the years 2013-2015

Ellen Komp, the deputy director of California NORML, said in a news release that the study results were an “encouraging indicator of the success of regulation.”

“It’s time to stop trying to ‘send a message’ to young people about drugs and instead implement sound, science-based policies that best protect our children and public safety, along with our privacy and human rights.” — Ellen Komp, Deputy Director of California NORML, in a news release

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