A concern of every state that has legalized recreational marijuana is if it will lead to increased teen use. The Washington State Health Youth Survey answered the concern by polling 230,000 students.
Marijuana use in 8th, 10th and 12th grade students hasn’t changed in the last decade according to the survey, Business Insider reports. In 2016, the survey showed that 6 percent of 8th graders used marijuana within the previous 30 days. In regards to 10th graders, 17 percent admitted to using marijuana in the last 30 days and 26 percent of 12th graders.
Students say that they have no problem obtaining marijuana on the black market. Meanwhile, retail marijuana dispensaries must follow strict rules – such as sales to anyone under the age of 21 are prohibited – to remain compliant, making it impossible for minors to buy marijuana from the state licensed businesses.
Other states that have legalized recreational marijuana have also noticed little to no increase in teen use following legalization. Decreased teen use has actually occurred in some states.
Colorado and Washington state had some of the highest teen use rates in the nation before they legalized recreational marijuana.
Krista Lisdahl of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said that the attitudes in Colorado “were very positive [toward marijuana], use was incredibly high before they legalized… The only way to make things less interesting to teens is to have adults think it’s cool.”