Teen use of cannabis has dropped in New Zealand, but legalisation could make access easier

Cannabis use has been declining in many Western nations. This appears to be part of a broader shift in adolescent behaviour, not a response to policy changes
The Conversation (UK)
Thursday, February 20, 2020

cannabis skyAs New Zealand prepares for a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis, surveys show opposite trends for cannabis use by adults and adolescents. Adult use of cannabis has risen sharply over the last few years, reflecting softening attitudes. But our study shows cannabis use in adolescents has been decreasing since 2001. It is important to understand what drives these trends to predict how legalisation could affect teen cannabis use. Our research shows the proportion of 14 to 15-year-olds reporting they had ever used cannabis fell from 19% in 2012 to 14% in 2018. Those who reported using in the past month fell from 10% to 8% over the same period. The recent changes are modest, but they follow substantial declines in cannabis use among high school students between 2001 and 2012.