Teen Use of Marijuana Decreased Since Passage of Arizona Medical-Pot Law, Study Shows

Categories: Medical Weed

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People who thought teens would be using marijuana more because of Arizona's 2010 medical-pot law are wrong, a new study shows.

Combined, the percentage of 8th, 10th and 12th graders who reported using marijuana at least once in their lives went from 29.9 percent before the law passed to 28.7 percent in 2012, according to statistics in the latest Arizona Youth Survey. Conducted by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, the project collected questionnaires from more than 60,000 Arizona students in every county.

Reported marijuana use in the last 30 days also went down, from 14.8 percent in 2010 to 14.3 percent this year.

See also: Teenagers May Get Marijuana From People Who Have Marijuana, Local Media Discovers


Governor Jan Brewer, a staunch opponent to the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, remains wary about the impact of the law, says her spokesman, Matt Benson.

"It's too early to tell if we're seeing a true decline in usage," he says.

Still, he admits that the governor "was concerned that the medical marijuana program would lead to an increase an use," and that "we're glad that we havent seen a spike in usage."

A closer look at the numbers reveals that lifetime marijuana use by 10th and 12th graders went up by a few tenths of a percent since 2010, but a 1.6-percent decrease by 8th graders brought the total down for all three grades.

The Arizona Republic and other news outlets focused mainly on the survey's interesting finding that one in nine teen marijuana users, (who themselves are about one-seventh of teens), obtained their marijuana from medical-marijuana cardholders. The survey did not determine if the teens getting the pot from cardholders also got pot from other sources, or if the cardholder had sold the teens pot prior to becoming a cardholder.

But news outlets basically ignored what is arguably a more dramatic finding: That the medical-pot law has not led to an overall increase in teen use, despite pot being in the news constantly in the last two years, and the proliferation of legal home-grown pot and compassion clubs.

We asked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery today whether he was surprised by the news that fewer teens were using marijuana, or if he expected that result.

Montgomery wrote back, "The decline in reported marijuana use among 8th graders is insignificant when compared to the increase among teens in other grade levels and the substantial proportion of all teens who report they are getting pot from medical marijuana cardholders."

Actually, the decrease among 8th graders was more significant than the increase in the other grades. But we understand his point: Marijuana use by teens is a concern, and so is where they get it.

Will Humble, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, which administers the medical-marijuana program, says he won't try to draw conclusions about the survey's findings on just teen pot use. But he is "encouraged" that the survey showed a drop in all substances abused by teens, and a drop in teen drinking and driving.

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24 comments
teknik
teknik

there goes that pesky liberal media again, cherry picking facts to get conservatives to feel a certain way...

Warren Klofkorn
Warren Klofkorn

The study didn't come out yesterday, a press release came out. We have yet to see the actual study let alone the raw data.

marcy
marcy

Bill Montgomery is outraged that 11% of teens aren't buying their pot from a Mexican drug cartel.

Mary Doe
Mary Doe

We do not have, and never had, any reliable statistics on marijuana use.

marcy
marcy

News flash, kids get booze from people who give it to the kids illegally.

Therefore we must stop EVERYONE from buying booze.

Another news flash, kids get prescription drugs illegally and therefore people should no longer be permitted to buy prescription drugs because a SMALL percentage of people give their prescription drugs to kids illegally.

Make something illegal and then point to the fact that it is illegal as a reason to keep it illegal.  After all, crime is good for business if you are the prosecutor and the more laws on the books, the more people who will be committing crimes.  Passing more laws makes law enforcement a growth industry.  If you really wanted to reduce crime, get rid of some laws, starting with the failed war on drugs laws and expanding right into the failed war on money laws like the Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act. 

Law enforcement was the original street gang and prosecutors are their enforcers.

gustavo.picciuto
gustavo.picciuto

"...The Arizona Republic and other news outlets focused mainly on the survey's interesting finding that one in nine teen marijuana users, obtained their marijuana from medical-marijuana cardholders..."



So one in nine students who are going to get Marijuana regardless, get in from a medical marijuana cardholder. That means that the other 8 get it from the streets. No one is advocating kids use marijuana, but if they are regardless, wouldn't you prefer it come from a dispensary where there's quality control and it's not sprayed or mix with other drugs or chemicals as it is the case with illegal street marijuana?? Also did they say how many teens get access to their parents prescriptions pills? Which can be fatal and many times more addicting than Marijuana. Sensationalism is a tool of the prohibitionist and we must set the facts and the truth straight every chance we get.

dlee23
dlee23

Kids are better off getting their weed via medical mj participants as it is less likely to contain additives such as pcp, formaldehyde, synthetic thc analogues, etc. Though this doesn't happen too often these days it is still a possibility. Would we rather have kids drinking booze illegally procured through adults or have the kids buying homemade booze or making their own hooch and possibly end up poisoned or with botulism. It is the same sort of situation.

ppolperson
ppolperson

I don't believe the statistics...sounds like BS instead.  Unless you can prove a study is valid and reliable or it has been duplicated it probably is full of BS.

jerk_store
jerk_store

Montgomery is such a weasly douchebag.

John Morgan
John Morgan

I have my Medical Marijuana Card and I smoked as a teenager, so I'm not really sure how to feel about this.

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

Sorta conflicting with the "study" that came out yesterday.

MandyMountain
MandyMountain

Love how they doctored the interpretation of those statistics. Also, how the press sucked it right up. The newspaper headline said that 11% of AZ teens were getting their pot from card holders! What a gross misrepresentation of the data. Also, it assumed that the kids were up front with the cop survey. I recall when I was a kid the goal was to screw with the cops/survey takers as much as possible among my crowd at least. I doubt things have changed that much over the ensuing years. It would have been interesting to actually see the questions asked, and learn about how the study was conducted. But no, what we get is sensational head lines and pontification from prohibitionists.

eeniemeenie
eeniemeenie

That's because there is an increase in stolen Oxycotin users. I'd like to see the statistics on that...oh but wait, there aren't any...because they all overdosed!

dlee23
dlee23

@ppolperson. I don't believe morons I see posting to internet forums. Unless you can prove their opinion is valid and reliable it is probably full of BS.

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

@MandyMountain lol in 1996 I didnt do any drugs at all for the entire year, but when the survey came out that WE HAD to do in order to graduate I lied. I said I smoked pot, crack, meth and tobacco. I drank beer , wine and hard liquor,  and I snorted coke and pcp. Sounds like a fun life, doesn't it? Too bad I only drank a lil bit of beer.. 

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

@eeniemeenie eeniemeenie, really? I haven't really heard of thousands of people dying from drug ODs. I also would like them to look more at meth and crack and other hard drugs. .. . and leave the people who smoke pot alone, what's your point?

Warren_Klofkorn
Warren_Klofkorn

@raystern I stand corrected. Unlike your story, the initial reports I read had no such links to the report.

ppolperson
ppolperson

@dlee23 I am not sure why the hostile reply.  I was only making a comment regarding the casual use of "stats" "polls" "studies show" because it is done everyday and people tend to believe everything they read whether it is good (study or collection of statistics) information or not...my opinion/comment doesn't have to be "valid" nor "reliable" that's why it's called an opinion.  Maybe you need a medical mj card!

ppolperson
ppolperson

@dlee23 Forget it...this isn't worth the effort...you are rambling

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

dlee, does all that ever get stuck in your throat?

dlee23
dlee23

@ppolperson @dlee23

Yes, I would love to be able to afford the costs incurred in obtaining a mj card and then the subsequent high cost of the meds but until ins or some sort of employment comes my way it isn't going to happen.

Well, the reliability of any particular poster can be utilized in determinig if the person is consistant, truthful, etc. and that brings us to the fact that if ones opinion isn't based on valid facts than the opinion is most likely worthless.

The fact that no one should take anything on the net without further validation as truth is just common sense and applicable to any news outlets or studies etc.

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