Despite the dawn of a new era legalizing recreational use of cannabis by adults, marijuana use among middle and high school students continued to decline in California in 2016 and 2017, a new state-funded health survey shows.
Only 4.2 percent of seventh graders reported ever using marijuana, according to the 16th biennial California Healthy Kids Survey, which was conducted between 2015 and 2017 and released this week.
Researchers found a marked decline in teen marijuana use over the past four years, from 10 percent of seventh grade students in the 2011-13 survey to 7.9 percent in 2013-15. Similar declines were found among students in grades nine and 11.
Pro-cannabis groups claim the latest survey is evidence that marijuana legalization does not lead to increased use among school-age children. California voters legalized adult use, possession and cultivation of marijuana immediately after they approved Proposition 64 on Nov. 8, 2016, although retail sales of recreational cannabis did not begin until Jan. 1, 2018.
Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML, said she was encouraged by the survey results, especially the fact that the youngest age groups showed the most dramatic declines. The survey results fly in the face of speculation that legalization would lead to increased use among children. [Read more at The Press Democrat]