Colorado’s good news on teen pot use

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The biggest single risk in legalizing marijuana in 2012 — with no other issue even close — was the effect it might have on adolescents.

Would usage skyrocket among this group? Teens who use drugs are more likely than adults to end up dependent on them and to suffer other long-term consequences, such as academic failure. If it can be shown for sure that legalization pushes more kids into pot use, most arguments on behalf of legal pot would be overwhelmed.

That’s why the recent data from the state’s Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which shows marijuana use among high school students has not increased and is roughly the same as the national average, is so heartening. Even the most ardent opponents of legalization ought to pleased, since the prospect of repealing Amendment 64 in the near future is approximately zero. We’re going to be living with the consequences of legalization for the time being, both good and bad.

The latest survey results are important in part because they reflect drug and alcohol consumption during 2015, three years after legalization and during the second year when pot was being sold in retail outlets. Moreover, nearly 16,000 high school students were surveyed, a far larger group than other recent surveys.


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