Survey Finds Teens Are Using Less Alcohol and Cigarettes, More Marijuana

A new survey found that teenagers, or at least teenagers in one area of the country, are using alcohol and cigarettes less but consuming marijuana more.

The 2017 Massachusetts Prevention Needs Assessment Survey revealed teenagers in the western part of the state were using marijuana more than in the past. According to the data, 31 percent of teenagers had used marijuana in the past month in 2017 compared with 27 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, teens drinking alcohol was down. For 16-year-olds, only 28 percent had reported drinking in the past month versus 31.5 percent in 2013, and 48 percent of 18-year-olds said they'd consumed alcohol compared with 51.3 percent in 2013. The survey also found that teenagers were using hard drugs at a lower rate and were also smoking less, although the use of e-cigarettes had gone up.

This survey is actual in conflict with many other surveys recently that have found that teen marijuana use is actually at a 20-year low. In fact, teen use of cannabis is down even in states like Colorado where the drug is legal. This suggests that this survey on teens in Massachusetts may only be relevant for that particular corner of the country, and is an outlier compared to the national data.

But it's still a positive survey result. Sure, teenagers smoking marijuana is illegal and should be discouraged. But it also shows that they're becoming more responsible and not engaging in activities that are more harmful than smoking cannabis. So it's just another survey win for marijuana.


Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) isn't the most vocal cannabis advocate on the 2020 presidential campaign trail, but you shouldn't take that as a lack of support for marijuana legalization. Unlike many of the top contenders for the upcoming Democratic primaries, Ryan hasn't filed any of his own cannabis legalization bills.

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