Salt Lake City — (KUTV) A Study from a White House-funded program says teen drug use in Colorado, since the marijuana laws in that state were loosened, has increased. Kevin Wong with the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Trafficking Area says a new study suggests past-month pot use for teens 12-17, has increased significantly.
"We're seeing increases, we're seeing increases across all age groups in the state of Colorado, for past month uses especially in 12 to 17-years-old," said Wong.
According to the study, teen past month marijuana use increased by 24 percent after Colorado allowed medical marijuana in 2010, then increased another 8 percent after recreational drug use was approved in 2013.
"Twelve and 17-year-olds are also seeing more expulsions and suspensions out of school systems, a lot more usage on school grounds during school hours," said Wong, who cites reports in the study at drug related expulsions and suspensions have increased by 40 percent since the laws where loosened in the state.
Mike Elliott, Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a pro-marijuana organization in Colorado, said there simply isn't enough data to extrapolate the long term effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado. He also says the government is misusing the data that does exist, and he says the Colorado Department of Health has published reports that he says differ from the federal report.
Elliott says the Colorado report indicates teen drug use is stagnant in the state.
"They leave out the whole thing about, really, state data showing that teen marijuana use being stagnant, that's really there. It's coming from the state of Colorado, but they (federal government) have to go and come to their conclusions," said Elliott.
Wong admits, time will tell the real story of marijuana use in Colorado, but he says the data onhand suggests pot use is soaring in the wake of legalization.
"The state of Colorado is number one across the nation for usage for past month usage for all age groups and is that coincidence? I think not," said Wong.
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