It's a provocative headline and actually true: it does show the effect of legalization on teen use. It's just not in the direction that people who fear legalized marijuana expected.
"In 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths had used marijuana in the past 30 days. That rate is slightly lower than the national average and down slightly from the 25 percent who used marijuana in 2009, before legalization. The survey was based on a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado.
"The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally," the Colorado health department said in a news release."
The article makes clear that any teen who wanted marijuana before legalization in Colorado basically could get it, just like the rest of the country. The article fails to mention that now that middle-aged parents of teens are using MJ, it's Just Not As Cool any more, but I feel that has to be at least a small factor.
Years ago, on a particularly beautiful Sunday morning, I got up early and walked from my condo on Cap Hill down to Etta's in Pike Market for breakfast (my then boyfriend drove down sometime later and we drove back). I said hi to nice black families walking to church. I marveled at people walking home from whatever they'd been up to since the night before, in costume that look real different in the brilliant summer sunlight. And for several blocks, I walked alongside a guy delivering drugs -- not then legal -- on foot. Nice shoes, very, very inconspicuous and comfortable for running in clothes. He was chatty and I learned a variety of things. Like, he had regulars he made deliveries to, and one of those regulars was coming off a heroin addiction with the assistance of MJ.
I got to thinking about that after reading the Colorado article, googled and, indeed, people really do that.
I don't want to be a big ole meanie and take people's pain meds away. Really. I want to help people Not Die. And I think legalizing marijuana and treating it as a gateway OUT of more serious drug dependency (and as a way to treat the problems less effectively and more dangerously treated with opioids) may make a lot of sense.