Many 30 and 40-year-old Americans remember the botched anti-drug campaign of the early 1990s. The slogan was memorable: “DARE to keep kids off drugs.” There were the school police visits with show-and-tells of confiscated bongs. There were coloring books with drawings of the stoner that was too sleepy to play with his friends. There were the bumper sticker and t-shirts.
It was an attempt to teach present-day 30 and 40-year-olds to stay away from drugs.
Those same kids have grown up, and are no longer afraid of marijuana. Instead, many of them legalized it. Now, a new study reveals: their children smoke less weed than they did.
No Longer Interesting
Teen marijuana use has declined since legalization began.
This is shocking because most people against marijuana legalization were convinced legalization would lead to more teenage drug use. Not surprisingly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is confused.
“I don’t have an explanation. This is somewhat surprising. We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.” (Dr. Nora Volkow, director)
They assumed that increased access would automatically lead to increased use among impressionable teens. This was not the case. In states where weed is extremely accessible, fewer teens admitted to trying it.
Their study proved the exact opposite of what they’d been saying for years – teens can make healthy decisions when provided with truth. (Even if weed is right in front of their face)
The Numbers the Feds did not expect
The National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed falling numbers in teen marijuana use. In 2016, 9.4 % of participating eighth graders said they’ve used marijuana. In 2015, it was 11.8%. They had not seen numbers this low since 1993 when police led aggressive anti-marijuana efforts through DARE.
Among older teens, the numbers did not change, despite legalization. Some believe the presence of high school seniors smoking is because, in many states, 18-year-olds are eligible for a medical card. Some of the older teens may be using marijuana with a doctor’s permission.
Perhaps teens did not need to be threatened with jail time after all.