CONTACT CDC study omits marijuana states - Dr. Christian Thurstone

The marijuana states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington are not included in the 2015 state-level Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) study released today. Those states either did not participate or did not have adequate participation to produce results.

The study released today found no significant change in marijuana use nationally among young people since 2013 — though marijuana use is significantly higher than when the survey started in 1991.

The lacking data “calls into question the relevance of the CDC results in studying the effects of legalization on youth,” states a press release issued by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a nonprofit organization I serve as a volunteer science advisor. I previously have written about the limitations of the CDC’s report because some marijuana states are not included — especially Colorado, which reports the highest youth marijuana-use rates in the country.

“It is not surprising that marijuana use is flat among a national sample because 46 out of the 50 states have kept marijuana illegal,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet. “The real finding from this survey, in terms of marijuana legalization, is that there is no finding at all since the most relevant states in the union were not included in the state-level findings of the report.”

According to the Monitoring the Future Study, another major national drug use survey, 5.9 percent of American college students reported daily or near-daily marijuana use in 2014 — the highest rate since 1980. This rate of use is up from 3.5 percent in 2007. In other words, one in every 17 college students uses marijuana daily or near daily. That number is similar for 12th graders. Daily marijuana use among the general population has also risen almost 800 percent since 1991.

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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