Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Marijuana use is not "prolific"

This week, I am taking a closer look at statements made in a recent Seattle PI Pot Blog post about teenagers and marijuana post-legalization.  Today, let’s look more closely at the statement that marijuana prohibition “has kept the very prolific use of marijuana hidden in plain sight.”

Data readily indicate that marijuana use is not “prolific” in Washington.  According to research about the marijuana market, about 10% of Washingtonians 12 years old and older used marijuana within the past month.

Source: RAND Drug Policy Research Center, 2013

Even in King County, less than 10% of people 12 and older currently use marijuana. Among 10th grade students, 16% in King County and 23% in Seattle report current marijuana use according to the Healthy Youth Survey.   

The perception that marijuana use is “prolific” or normal among adults and teenagers is a barrier to youth marijuana use prevention.  According to local researchers, perceived peer and adult norms favorable to marijuana use contribute to teenage marijuana use.  If teens perceive that adult marijuana use is widespread and socially acceptable (normal), they may view marijuana use as a way to project a desirable adult image. 

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