Teen Marijuana Use In Colorado And Washington Dropped More Than The National Average in 2014-2015

COLORADO: The federal government quietly published new national survey data this week that shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado and Washington — the first two states to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use — decreased more than the national average in 2014-2015. Fewer teens in the two states are reportedly using marijuana than in 2012-2013, just prior to the commencement of legal adult marijuana sales.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2014-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on Tuesday along with a press release that did not include any mention of marijuana.

According to the NSDUH:

  • In Colorado, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 1.43 percentage points from 12.56% in 2013-2014 to 11.13% in 2014-2015, compared to 11.16% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 2.46 percentage points from 20.81% in 2013-2014 to 18.35% in 2014-2015, compared to 18.76% in 2012-2013.
  • In Washington, the rate of 12-17-year-olds who used marijuana in the past month dropped 0.89 percentage points from 10.06% in 2013-2014 to 9.17% in 2014-2015, compared to 9.81% in 2012-2013. The rate of past-year use dropped 1.92 percentage points from 17.53% in 2013-2014 to 15.61% in 2014-2015, compared to 16.48% in 2012-2013.
  • Nationwide, the rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds dropped 0.02 percentage points from 7.22% in 2013-2014 to 7.2% in 2014-2015, and the rate of past-year use dropped 0.42 percentage points from 13.28% to 12.86%.

The overall findings of the NSDUH are in line with those of the annual Monitoring the Future survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which were released last week and found little change in rates of teen marijuana use.

“I don’t have an explanation. This is somewhat surprising,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow in an article published last week by U.S. News and World Report. “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.”

Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Survey after survey is finding little change in rates of teen marijuana use despite big changes in marijuana laws around the nation. Colorado and Washington are dispelling the myth that regulating marijuana for adult use will somehow cause an increase in use among adolescents. Legalization opponents will surely continue to make dire predictions about teens, so lawmakers and voters need to be informed about these government reports that invalidate them.

“Decades of arresting and prosecuting countless adults failed to prevent teens from accessing and using marijuana. States like Colorado and Washington are taking a new approach and actually controlling the production and sale of marijuana. Their success has already inspired a handful of other states to adopt similar laws, and more are sure to follow.”

5 Lessons For California On Marijuana Legalization

CALIFORNIA: Many people were stunned in 2012 when voters in Colorado and Washington adopted the nation’s first laws making marijuana legal for adults.

Some never thought it would happen. Most knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be so soon. And just about everyone assumed that, if or when it did happen, it would surely happen in California before anywhere else.

The Golden State has long been at the forefront of the marijuana policy reform debate. In 1996, it became the first state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. In 2010, it fell just a few percentage points short of becoming the first to extend that right to adults 21 and older. And for the past two decades, it has been a major battleground for conflicting state and federal marijuana policies.

While California may not have been one of the first two states to end marijuana prohibition — or even one of the second two; Alaska and Oregon took that honor in November — there is little doubt it will be one of the next.

Marijuana Delivery Startups Are Ready. The U.S. Government Is Not.

WASHINGTON: Canary, a new startup that offers on-demand marijuana delivery, recently launched with the tagline “Prohibition is over.” The startup’s webpage advertises 24/7 availability for pot in Colorado and Washington, where state legislatures recently legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. The site teases a sleek, simple app for ordering, available for both iPhone and Android devices; knowledgeable couriers will work with local dispensaries to bring the goods to your door with three the click of three buttons, Canary promises, making acquiring pot as easy as ordering takeout Chinese food.

There’s just one problem: It’s totally illegal.

Though the prohibition on selling recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington may be over, the prohibition on delivering it is not. Both states have laws on the books explicitly banning the delivery of weed, wary of losing track of what is already strange and new territory.

That’s harsh news for Canary co-founders Josiah Tullis and Megh Vakharia, two University of Washington undergrads who have been forced to cut back on their grand pot delivery schemes due to the government strictures.

Proposed Initiative Seeks To Ban All Marijuana In Montana

MONTANA: A Billings car-dealership owner has proposed a ballot measure that would completely ban the use and possession of marijuana in Montana, even for medical uses.

The proposal by Steve Zabawa would change state law to say any Schedule I drug in the federal Controlled Substances Act “may not be legally possessed, received, transferred, manufactured, cultivated, trafficked, transported or used in Montana.”

The proposal submitted to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday aims is to eliminate the disparity between federal and state law in possessing and using marijuana, which is a Schedule I drug, Zabawa said in an email.

Montana and several other states allow the regulated use of marijuana for medical purposes, and about 8,300 medical marijuana users are registered in Montana. Two other states, Washington and Colorado, have approved recreational use of the drug, and federal authorities have not interfered.

If You Support Legal Marijuana, Memorize These 13 Stats

Regardless of your feelings about legalizing marijuana, it’s hard to deny that legal weed would be a bonanza for cash-strapped states, just as tobacco and alcohol already are.

With Colorado and Washington starting to tax and regulate recreational weed sales, and medical marijuana legal in 18 other states, we can finally start to put some hard numbers on the industry’s value.

Numbers like:

$1.53 billion: The amount the national legal marijuana market is worth, according to a Nov. 2013 report from ArcView Market Research, a San Francisco-based investor group focused on the marijuana industry.

$10.2 billion: The estimated amount the national legal marijuana market will be worth in five years, according to that same ArcView report.

$6.17 million: The amount of tax revenue collected in Colorado on legal marijuana sales in just the first two months of 2014.

Eric Holder ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Marijuana Legalization In Washington And Colorado

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Attorney General Eric Holder is “cautiously optimistic” about how things are going in Washington state and Colorado following the legalization and state regulation of marijuana.

But the nation’s top law enforcement official, who spoke to The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday, also said it was tough to predict where marijuana legalization will be in 10 years.

“I’m not just saying that, I think it’s hard to tell,” Holder said in a jury room at the federal courthouse in Charleston, which he visited as part of the Justice Department’s Smart on Crime initiative. “I think there might have been a burst of feeling that what happened in Washington and Colorado was going to be soon replicated across the country. I’m not sure that is necessarily the case. I think a lot of states are going to be looking to see what happens in Washington, what happens in Colorado before those decisions are made in substantial parts of the country.”

Legislators Ask Why Mexicans Should Die Over A Drug The U.S. Is Legalizing

MEXICO:  Two Mexican legislators say they’re sick of cramming their jails full of pot smokers.

Few countries have suffered the consequences of the U.S.-led war on drugs more than Mexico. As the principal supplier of marijuana to the United States, as well as a major transit country for cocaine and other hard drugs, Mexico has seen organized crime flourish within its borders. According to some estimates, as many as 80,000 Mexicans have died since former President Felipe Calderón launched a frontal assault on the country’s drug cartels in 2006, and Mexico has seen its prison population nearly double since the 1990s, largely from prosecuting drug crimes. [Read more…]

Arizona Poll Shows Growing Support For Legalized Pot

ARIZONA:  Arizona voters may be ready to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington residents and make marijuana use by anyone legal.

A new statewide poll shows 51 percent of those asked said the drug, now authorized for those with a medical need, should be made available to all, compared with 41 percent opposed.

Jim Haynes, president of the Behavior Research Center, said the numbers are little short of a sea change in public opinion.

He said that while this is his first statewide poll on the question, a 1974 national survey found legalization opposed by a margin of close to 3-1. Now nationwide numbers pretty much track what was found here, with 54 percent in support.

Some of this may be an increasing acceptance of what was once considered by many to be a dangerous drug.

Oklahoma SB 2116: The Legalization of Marijuana

OKLAHOMA:  Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington, could Oklahoma be next?

Not anytime soon, says one local state senator, and he doesn’t plan on hearing a new bill proposing the legalization of marijuana in his senate subcommittee. Senate Bill 2116 would tax and regulate marijuana in Oklahoma and let people have small amounts, up to an ounce, for personal use.

Senator Don Barrington, Lawton Republican, says a similar bill was introduced in last year’s legislative session and voted down, and that’s why he says he won’t hear the bill in his Senate Subcommittee on Public Safety. Barrington believes this is just another way to get marijuana legalized by changing the language of the previous bill. [Read more…]

Banks Say No To Marijuana Money, Legal Or Not

WASHINGTON:  In his second-floor office above a hair salon in north Seattle, Ryan Kunkel is seated on a couch placing $1,000 bricks of cash — dozens of them — in a rumpled brown paper bag. When he finishes, he stashes the money in the trunk of his BMW and sets off on an adrenalized drive downtown, darting through traffic and nervously checking to see if anyone is following him.

Despite the air of criminality, there is nothing illicit in what Mr. Kunkel is doing. He co-owns five legal medical marijuana dispensaries, and on this day he is heading to the Washington State Department of Revenue to commit the ultimate in law-abiding acts: paying taxes. After about 25 minutes at the agency, Mr. Kunkel emerges with a receipt for $51,321. [Read more…]