Has Marijuana Use by Teens Changed in Washington State Since Legalization?

Bottom Line: Washington state legalized retail marijuana for adults 21 and older in 2012. Understanding how this change affects teens is important. This study assessed whether findings about marijuana use by young people in a Washington state-based youth survey were consistent with findings from a nationally representative survey. An analysis of the two surveys of students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades finds differing results on whether marijuana use has increased or decreased among teens. The results of one survey suggest use declined after legalization among eighth and 10th graders; the other survey suggests an increase in use among 10th graders. Neither survey showed changes in use among 12th graders. Differences between the surveys in design and methods may explain the findings.

Author: Julia A. Dilley, Ph.D., M.E.S., Multnomah County/Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, and coauthors


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.