Marijuana use by teens continues to decline in Colorado since the proliferation of retail medical-pot stores, but the state’s health department would rather focus on perceptions over reality. A news release put out today by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is headlined, “New survey documents youth marijuana use, need for prevention.” And the article begins with the concern-inducing statement, “Fewer high school students in Colorado think using marijuana is risky.”
Reading on, though, it’s obvious the real news from the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is that marijuana use among teens in one of the country’s most marijuana-friendly states is falling.
“One in five Colorado high school students used marijuana in the past 30 days, and more than a third have used it at some point in their lives, the survey shows. Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years. None of the declines shown in the preliminary data represent a statistically significant drop in rates.”
Mark Salley, spokesman for the agency, tells Phoenix New Times that the department chose to go with the perception-of-risk angle, rather than the pot-use-is-falling angle, is to tie the survey results to a youth marijuana-prevention campaign the agency intends to launch next month. He admits the disclaimer about how the declines aren’t statistically significant apply equally to the stat about perception of risk.
Read the rest over at Valley Fever.