Why it matters:
The article highlights the decreasing rates of teen cannabis use in the United States, with data showing that teen marijuana use is at historic lows. This challenges the perception that the legalization of cannabis will lead to increased youth consumption.
What they are saying:
The government data from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that just over 11% of kids aged 12-17 reported consuming cannabis in the past year. While this is slightly higher than in 2020 and 2021, it is still below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Other studies and reports support these findings, indicating that the implementation of adult-use cannabis legalization does not result in higher rates of youth marijuana use.
The big picture:
The article asserts that fears about the impact of cannabis legalization on teen consumption are misguided. The data consistently shows that legalizing marijuana does not lead to increased use among teenagers. This challenges the conservative narrative and highlights the potential for safe and effective regulation of adult cannabis access.
What to watch:
While teen cannabis use is declining overall, the article points out that there are still racial disparities in how cannabis-related offenses are policed. Black teens in California and Virginia, for example, are more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related offenses compared to White individuals. This highlights the need to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Overall, the data presented in the article supports the argument that legalizing cannabis for adults does not have a significant impact on youth consumption. It is important to address the racial disparities in cannabis enforcement, which persist despite changing legalization laws. Concerns about the effects of cannabis and teens should be focused on dismantling systemic racism rather than perpetuating fear-mongering narratives.