Federally Funded Study Finds Teen Marijuana Use Far Lower Than it Was in the 1990s Despite 24 States Legalizing

According to a new federally funded study, teen marijuana use is considerably lower now than it was in the 1990s, well before any state legalized marijuana. Teen usage rates also remain below pre-pandemic levels, despite multiple states legalizing the plant over the past few years.

The 2023 Monitoring the Future survey is conducted by the University of Michigan and is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The survey found that past-year marijuana use among teens remained stable for all three grades surveyed (8th, 10th and 12th).

“The percentage of youth who have used marijuana had not returned to pre-pandemic, 2020
levels by 2023,” states the survey. “In all grades, 2023 levels remained below those in 2020.”

Lifetime, past 12-month, and past 30-day use all dropped steeply from 2020 to 2021, and have since remained at the new, lower levels.

The survey found that since 1997, the number of 12th graders who say they’ve used marijuana in the past year is down by almost 25%. Among 10th and 8th graders, usage rates are down around 50% since the late 1990s.

“These findings ought to reassure lawmakers and the public that cannabis access for adults can be legally regulated in a manner that is safe, effective, and that does not significantly impact young people’s consumption habits”, says NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released last month, the percentage of high school students who have used marijuana in the past, or who say that they are current consumers, has fallen significantly since 2011 (the first state to legalize recreational marijuana did so the following year in 2012).

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