An amateur cannabis smoker lights a hand-rolled joint.

Chuck Grimmett

Teen Cannabis Use is Not Up Since Legalization in Wash.

Teen cannabis use in Washington State since adult-use legalization is not on the rise, remaining mostly stable but still less frequent than teenage alcohol use, according to data from the state Department of Health.

The 2016 Washington State Healthy Use Survey of over 230,000 students found minimal declines for some high school populations. Self-reported cannabis use within the last 30 days among eighth-graders fell from 8 percent in 2014 to 6 percent last year; 17 percent of 10th graders students reported using cannabis within the last 30 days, down slightly from 18 percent in 2014 and on par with the lowest survey figures reported in 2004; and cannabis use among 12th-graders fell 2 percent from 28 percent in 2014 to 26 percent last year.

Twenty-seven percent of 10th-graders indicated that cannabis was “very easy” to obtain in 2016, down 5 percent from two years prior. The survey found that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors had “very easy” access to cannabis; and while the number of students reporting they get it from friends decreased from 63 percent in 2014 to 57 percent last year, the number of students who reported giving money to someone else to purchase it increased 16 percent to 19 percent from 2014 to 2016.

The report notes that the declining perceived risk of cannabis use among 8th-graders – 53 percent in 2016 and 48 percent in 2016 – should be “carefully monitored,” adding that “decreases in perceived risk are often followed by increased use.”

Comparatively, 8 percent of 8th-graders, 20 percent of 10th-graders, and 32 percent of high school seniors reported using alcohol within the last 30 days.

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