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Federal Survey Dispels Myth That Reforming Marijuana Laws, Debating Legalization Will Lead to More Teen Use

Dec 18, 2015

Monitoring the Future, National Institute on Drug Abuse, perception of risk, teen use


Federal Survey Dispels Myth That Reforming Marijuana Laws, Debating Legalization Will Lead to More Teen Use

The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Wednesday invalidate claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.

According to the Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • Rates of daily marijuana use by 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, as well as monthly use by 12th-graders, did not change from 2014 to 2015 and have remained unchanged since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 8th-graders did not change in the past year, but has dropped significantly since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 10th-graders appears to have dropped significantly from 2014 (and 2010) to 2015.

The survey also found a decline in the number of teens who perceive ‘great risk’ in marijuana use, negating the theory that softening perceptions of harm will result in more teens using marijuana.