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*** UPDATED x1 - Legalize Illinois responds *** What about the children?

Monday, May 13, 2019

* Opponents of cannabis legalization have repeatedly trotted out claims that legalization results in dramatically increased usage by children. Rep. Kelly Cassidy said once that “you see steady decreases in youth use if you do [legalization] right.” Politifact chose to fact check her

Since 2014, the data show no statistically significant uptick in pot usage among teens so legalization hardly leads to the reefer madness some critics feared. But the numbers available for Colorado and other states that have lifted bans for adults also don’t reveal the clear pattern of decline in youth pot use that Cassidy described.

Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize retail marijuana sales, so they have the longest track records to study.

In Colorado, a 2018 report by the state Department of Public Safety’s Division of Justice reviewed data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which includes answers to various health questions asked of more than 40,000 middle and high school students every other year. The survey is conducted by the state’s Department of Public Health & Environment.

Results from the survey show 19.7% of Colorado high schoolers reported using marijuana within the past month in 2013, the year before the first retail marijuana store opened. In 2015, that figure rose slightly, but experts told PolitiFact in 2016 that increase was not statistically significant. In 2017, the rate dipped to 19.4%, slightly lower than it had been in previous surveys dating back to least 2005. […]

The state [of Washington] conducts a biennial youth health survey similar to Colorado’s, which breaks its data down by grades. Its results show some small declines but suggest little has changed there either, with decreases of 1% between 2014 and 2016 among 8th and 10th graders who said they currently used pot, followed by 1% increases for both grades in 2018. For 12th graders, rates fell by 1% the year after retail sales began and have remained at that level, which is in line with pre-legalization rates. […]

Changes in the other five states where retail sales are underway are even more difficult to evaluate than Colorado or Washington. Alaska’s state survey reported no statistically significant changes since recreational cannabis was approved for adults in 2014 and hit the market in 2016. Results in Oregon, which followed a similar timeline, were mixed. And it’s too soon to assess results out of Nevada, California and Massachusetts, which each repealed bans in late 2016 but only began allowing sales within the last two years.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

In response to a recent PolitiFact/BGA story on the accuracy of State Representative Kelly Cassidy’s comments on teen use, Legalize Illinois issued the following statement:

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

“Colorado, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Maine all show declines in teen use since legalizing adult-use cannabis. Washington state saw declines in two of the three age groups it studied. Somehow, though, the Better Government Association found it possible to describe Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s statement that, ‘In states that have legalized, you see steady decreases in youth use if you do it right’ as ‘mostly false.’ We hope this was an honest misreading of the data and not a temptation to create click-bait.

“Let’s look at the facts. Nationwide, use by 9th-12th graders has declined from 23.1% to 19.8% (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) In Oregon, use among 8th graders has declined from 9.7% to 6.7%, (Source: Oregon Healthy Teens Survey), in Nevada 19.3% to 17.9% (Source: Nevada Youth Risk Behavior Survey) and in Washington from 20% to 17.2% (Source: Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.) And so on.

“The BGA story itself cites the Colorado declines but editorializes that the study is unreliable because its data is ‘baseline and preliminary.’ What Rep. Cassidy said – and what the BGA chose to malign her about – was the statement, ‘In states that have legalized, you see steady decreases in youth use if you do it right’. The statistics show she is correct.

“To borrow from the BGA’s own designation, we rate their story as follows: ‘Mostly False – The story contains particles of truth but ignores critical data that would have given the reader a more accurate impression’.”

…Adding… Heh…

* Illinois Survey That Supposedly Shows Support for Legalizing Marijuana Is ‘Dwindling’ Actually Shows It Is Rising: An anti-pot group’s own polling shows that support for legalization has risen by 78 percent since November 2017.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    The studies indicate teen use has not gone up, even if the rhetoric is wrong. That is an erroneous reason to not support marijuana legalization.

    What is certain is that kids are going to continue to illegally get marijuana, like they have for decades.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    Meh, kids these days — they’re zombified by staring at their phones, not by smoking weed.

    Youth is wasted on the young.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some clouds to yell at.

  3. - Rabid - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 10:29 am:

    this validates prohibition don’t work, hiding behind children is wrong

  4. - efudd - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    I went to high school in the mid-eighties, in a rural school district. If memory serve, I could walk about twenty feet in both directions of my locker and buy weed. Some pretty good, some wouldn’t get a fly high, Sgt. Sdanko.
    Anecdotal, sure. But this legalization leads to increased use nonsense is hilarious.

  5. - Thomas Paine - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 11:49 am:

    I think it’s time for the BGA to be more transparent about its “fact checking” process.

    Who are the experts they are consulting with, for starters?

    Because it sounds like they are consulting with the bill’s opponents.

  6. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Has a BGA fact checker ever been correct?

  7. - Whipping Votes - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    The attempts to stop this bill are among the weakest things I have ever seen in this state. Letting it pass is more revenue for the state and creates a safer framework for an illegal market that has hurt POC for generations. It’s a no brainer. Vote Yes on SB 7.

  8. - muon - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    The key test that no one seems to have used is to compare the states with legal weed to the nationwide averages. Then check if the legal states show a significantly different behavior.

    Using the numbers from Legalize Illinois -
    Nationwide: 23.1% to 19.8%, decline of 14.3%
    Oregon: 9.7% to 6.7%, decline of 30.9%
    Nevada: 19.3% to 17.9%, decline of 7.3%
    Washington: 20% to 17.2%, decline of 14.0%

    What I see is a nationwide trend towards lower teen usage. Of the three states cited, one is moving down at close to the same rate as the nation as a whole, one dropped faster, and one dropped at a slower rate. From the data I wouldn’t draw a conclusion one way or the other. Instead one needs to look at the sample groups and sizes used (for example the Oregon sample was only 8th graders). A proper comparison would use the same methodology for legal states and the nation.

    As for the initial claim by Rep Cassidy, the data supports that rates did go down in states with legal weed, so it’s hard to characterize it as mostly false. However, the data doesn’t support that the decline in teen use was correlated to their marijuana policy, so I’m not sure what box the fact checkers should put it in.

  9. - Dotnonymous - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    The teens are in between…teens don’t remain teens long…So…let’s help them from becoming future victims of The War on Cannabis.

    I can absolutely prove being arrested and charged with a crime is harmful to their future health and well-being.

  10. - NoGifts - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    What have I observed in recent years? Young people who need to pass a drug screening (you’d be surprised how many jobs and programs require that these days), are switching to alcohol even though it isn’t preferred to marijuana. I don’t know what the statistics about alcohol use are, but it looks like that’s the choice being made. How do we feel about that? I have no opinion at this time.

  11. - Shytown - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    Sloppyish statement issued by Rep. Cassidy and faulty fact checking. When you make blanket statements like hers make sure they’re iron clad and be ready for the inevitable call from Politifact because they only exist to call people out on stuff like this.

  12. - Boone's is Back - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

  13. - Just Stop - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 5:10 pm:

    Wouldn’t the opposition be more fun if it were conjured up in the faux Bill Clinton voice by former Rep. John Bradley? “Children are dyin’!!!”

    The Crown Prince of disingenuous needs to make a cameo appearance. . . . . . .

  14. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    ==Sloppyish statement issued by Rep. Cassidy and faulty fact checking.==

    Well the numbers did go down. Not by a lot and probably statistically insignificant, but they did go down.

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