Sensi: Teen Use of Cannabis on the Decline

Leland Rucker, senior editor at Sensi magazine, looks at new federal data that shows teen use of cannabis on the decline.

The rate of current marijuana use among Colorado 12-17-year-olds dropped nearly 20% from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, according to the federal National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Released Monday, it shows the rate of current marijuana use among Colorado teens decreased significantly last year and is now lower than it was prior to the state’s legalization of marijuana for adult use.


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The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (SAMHSA) says the rate of past-month marijuana use by individuals ages 12-17 dropped nearly 20% from 11.13% in 2014-2015 to 9.08% in 2015-2016 and is lower than it was in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds also dropped in Washington state (from 9.17% in 2014-2015 to 7.93% in 2015-2016), and it is now lower than it was prior to legalization in 2012 (9.45% in 2011-2012 and 9.81% in 2012-2013).

“I always caution using statistics, esp. surveys, to “prove” things, because they can be interpreted to mean almost anything. But many surveys since legalization show that teen use has not increased significantly. It’s still too early to tell for sure, but four full years into legalization, with regulated cannabis businesses and less black market sales, we should be cautiously optimistic about these numbers. During the same time period Colorado’s ranking in rates of teen cannabis use has “risen” to #1 in the country.”

Rucker also discusses Denver’s first application for a social use license that has passed the first hurdle. Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov, who own a dispensary next door, plan to open The Coffee Joint at 1136 Yuma St. in coming weeks near I-25 southwest of downtown. And it has support from the La Alma-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association.

They plan to allow on-site vaping and consumption of edibles in the 21-and-over business at 1130 Yuma Court, in a small shopping center north of 6th Ave. They will charge a $5 admission fee that includes basic coffee and tea offerings, Tsalyuk said, with premium drinks and packaged food for sale along with board games, art and music and vaping equipment for rent.

“The local support comes because the neighborhood association feels the dispensary has been a good neighbor and proactively addressed any concerns about the business. Under state law, businesses with marijuana sales licenses can’t apply for on-site consumption, but dispensary owners are allowed to open separate businesses. It’s also located in an industrial district, with no residences nearby. A public hearing on the license would be set in the next two or three months.”

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