California: Teen Marijuana Use Declines Post-Legalization

CALIFORNIA: Marijuana use by adolescents continues to decline in California, according to statewide data provided by the California Healthy Kids Survey, a biennial survey funded by the Departments of Health and Education.

Among 7th graders, 4.2 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 7.9 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-47 percent). Among 9th graders, 17.4 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 23.1 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-25 percent). Among 11th graders, 31.9 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 37.9 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-16 percent).

The percentage of teens reporting using cannabis multiple times and/or repeatedly within the past 30 days also declined for all age groups.

“These initial reports confirm that legalizing and regulating cannabis doesn’t increase youth marijuana use, but rather it has the opposite effect,” said Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML. “The fact that the biggest drop in reported use came from younger age groups is a particularly encouraging indicator of the success of regulation.”

California law legalized the adult use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults in November of 2016. Retail adult use marijuana sales did not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

The findings are consistent with those of other studies and surveys from other states finding that the enactment of adult marijuana use laws is not associated with upticks in young people’s use of marijuana or access to the substance.


For more information, please contact California NORML here. Full text of the study, “School Climate, Substance Use, and Well-being Among California Students: 2015-2017,” appears online here.

Study: Adult Use Legalization Associated With Improved Crime Clearance Rates

WASHINGTON: The enactment of state laws regulating adult marijuana use is associated with an increase in crime clearance rates, according to data published in the journal Police QuarterlyClearance rates are calculated by dividing the number of crimes that are ‘cleared’ (charges are filed) by the total number of crimes reported.

Criminologists at Washington State University assessed crime clearance rates in Colorado and Washington in the years immediately prior to and immediately following the enactment of adult use legalization. They reported that clearance rates were either flat or decreasing prior to legalization, but then improved significantly following the change in law – particularly with respect to violent crimes and property crimes.

Authors concluded, “[T]he current evidence suggests that legalization produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit in clearance rates, benefits we believe are associated with the marijuana legalization proponents’ prediction that legalization would positively influence police performance.”

Separate studies have previously reported an association between legalization and decreased criminal activities, including a reduction in incidences of violent crime.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Marijuana legalization and crime clearance rates: Testing proponent assertions in Colorado and Washington,” appears in Police Quarterly. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet ‘Marijuana and Crime Rates‘.

Federal Government Reports Teen Marijuana Use In Colorado Still Has NOT Increased Since Legalization

Five years after Colorado voters decided to regulate marijuana for adult use, rates of current and lifetime use among high school students remain relatively unchanged and on par with national averages

COLORADO: A new federal report shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado have still not increased since voters decided to end marijuana prohibition in 2012 and start regulating it similarly to alcohol for adult use.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found 19.6 percent of Colorado students are currently using marijuana (compared to 19.8 percent nationwide), down from 21.2 percent in 2015 and 22 percent in 2011, the year before voters approved Amendment 64. The rate of lifetime use dropped to 35.5 percent in 2017 (compared to 35.6 percent nationwide), down from 38 percent in 2015 and 39.5 percent in 2011.

The Colorado and nationwide data for 2017 are available at the CDC website. The CDC released the nationwide YRBS data late last week, and it appears to have released the state-level data sometime this week.

Statement from Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert, who co-directed the campaign in support of Amendment 64:

“After five years of marijuana being legal for adults in Colorado, government surveys continue to find no increase in usage rates among high school students. This is very welcome news for Colorado, and it should be particularly welcome news for those who opposed the state’s legalization for fear it would lead to an explosion in teen use. Hopefully it will allay opponents’ concerns in other states where voters or lawmakers are considering proposals to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Colorado is proof that you can prevent teen marijuana use without arresting thousands of responsible adult marijuana consumers every year. Rather than debating whether marijuana should be legal for adults, let’s focus on how we can regulate it and control it to make it less available to teens.”

Cannabis Retail Facilities Associated With Rising Home Values

GEORGIA: Cannabis retail facilities are associated with increased home values, according to data to be published in the journal Real Estate Economics.

Researchers from the University of Georgia at Athens, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and California State University Sacramento assessed the relationship between operational retail cannabis facilities in Denver, Colorado and fluctuations in nearby housing values.

Authors reported that single family residences within 0.1 miles of a retail marijuana establishment saw an increase in value of approximately 8.4 percent compared to those located slightly further – between 0.1 miles and 0.25 miles – from the site. That increase in property value was estimated to be almost $27,000 for an average house in the area.

They concluded, “In addition to sales and business taxes generated by the retail marijuana industry, the associated increase in property tax revenues represents another potentially appealing selling point for legalization.”

The findings are similar to those of a University of Mississippi paper which determined, “[L]egalizing retail marijuana leads to an average 6 percent housing value appreciation.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Contact high: The external effects of retail marijuana establishments on house prices,” appears in Real Estate Economics.

Vancouver WA Pot Shops Report Traffic Dips After Oregon Sales Launch

By Sue Vorenberg

WASHINGTON: Pot shops in Vancouver, Washington, reported weekend traffic dips of 10 to 20 percent after the launch of Oregon’s early start recreational cannabis sales on Oct. 1, 2015.

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Stores in the city, including two of the three largest pot shops in Washington, have been heavily dependent on Portland consumers, who frequently crossed the border to Washington while recreational pot remained illegal in Oregon.

At some Vancouver stores, Portland traffic made up about 50 percent of their business. So traffic dips of 10 to 20 percent aren’t as bad as they could have been.

Main Street Marijuana, the largest retail store in Washington, dropped its sales prices by 25 percent a few days prior to Oct. 1 in hopes of luring Portlanders over the border.

Ramsey Hamide, the owner, said that seems to have helped stave off a larger traffic dip – but it is still hurting the company’s bottom line.

Spokane Police Give Out Few Marijuana Citations

WASHINGTON: Riverfront Park might be the worst place to get high in Spokane.

Data from Spokane Municipal Court shows marijuana users are far more likely to be fined for consuming pot in public by a park security guard than by a Spokane police officer, though they’re unlikely to get a ticket at all.

Citywide, law enforcement officers have written 28 tickets for public consumption of marijuana since March 2013, when an ordinance prohibiting public consumption was added to the city code. Only six of those tickets were written by Spokane police officers, who say they’re usually too busy with other calls for service to deal with pot smokers.

“You’re seeing what the numbers are. That should be indicative of how much of a priority marijuana enforcement is for us,” said Spokane police Capt. Brad Arleth, who oversees the department’s downtown precinct.

 

Report Looks At Impact Of Legal Marijuana In Colorado

COLORADO: A report released Tuesday by a federally-funded agency paints a picture that commercial marijuana is causing problems in Colorado.

Though the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area says its report doesn’t make a judgment, it’s easy to make that assessment based on the statistics provided.

Marijuana supporters disagree with the findings.

“Yeah, it’s joke,” said Mason Tvert, a marijuana activist, “It would receive an F in any high school class, let alone any college class.”