The 4th annual review of the impact of pot legalization on Colorado was recently issued by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA). The review examines the effects of legalization in seven areas, one of which is the impact on youth use of THC products. This is a particularly important effect to track because many of the long-term negative impacts of THC are magnified when use begins during childhood or when a teenager.

The study contains a tremendous volume of information on youth use of THC products and brings together data from a variety of sources which all point to an increase in youth use including during school hours. Specifically, it shows:

  • Youth past month marijColorado Youth Use of THC products uana use increased 20 percent in the two-year average (2013/2014) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the two-year average prior to legalization (2011/2012).
  • Nationally youth past month marijuana use declined 4 percent during the same timeframe.
  • The latest 2013/2014 results show Colorado youth ranked #1 in the nation for past month marijuana use, up from #4 in 2011/2012 and #14 in 2005/2006.
  • Colorado youth past month marijuana use for 2013/2014 was 74 percent higher than the national average compared to 39 percent higher in 2011/2012.
  • The top ten states for the highest rate of current marijuana use were all medical marijuana states whereas the bottom ten were all non-medical-marijuana states.

According to the report, there’s a clear increase in youth use of THC products since relaxation of Colorado laws restricting THC products including pot.