CA NORML News


STUDENT POT USE DECLINES IN CALIFORNIA FOLLOWING APPROVAL OF PROPOSITION 215

Use of marijuana by California students has declined since passage of Proposition 215. Biennial surveys of student drug use released by the state Attorney General's office show that marijuana use peaked around 1996, the same year Prop. 215 was approved, and declined continually in subsequent years through 2004.

For 11th graders, marijuana use in the past six months declined from 43% in 1995-6 to 30% in 2003-4 (a 30% reduction); for 9th graders, from 34% to 19% (a 45% reduction), and for 7th graders, from 11% to 6% (45% reduction).

The data refute claims by Prop. 215 oponents that legalization of medical marijuana would send a harmful message to school children. "The message that marijuana is medicine seems to have made it less attractive to kids," says California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer, "Apparently they realize it's one thing to get high, another to take your medicine."

(The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs tried to suppress a 2000 report by UCLA researchers showing student pot use had leveled off, evidently due to political concerns by offficials who had opposed 215).

UPDATE - 2005-6 Survey Shows Students' Drug Use Remains Low.

The CSS found little change since its last survey in 2003-4. The years 2005-6 saw a slight increase in drug use by 7th graders, an equally slight decrease amongst 11th graders, and no change among 9th graders. Use in past 6 months of marijuana was 7.3% for 7th graders; 18.7% for 9th graders; and 29.8% for 11th graders in 2005-6. Corresponding figures in 1997-8 were: 11.2% for 7th graders; 32.5% for 9th graders; and 41.6% for 11th graders.

Tthe decline in marijuana use is paralleled by a comparable decline in alcohol and other drugs: only 44.6% of 11th graders reported use of beer in the latest survey, down from 63.5% in 1997-8. This suggests a broader trend toward reduced interest in intoxicants by adolescents in California. Release by Cal NORML 2005


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