Michigan pot use at a 35-year high

Sep 19, 2019

A new survey says marijuana use among 19 to 22 year olds is the highest it's been in 35 years.

An annual survey from the University of Michigan follows 12th graders after graduation, both in and out of college, to study trends in drug and alcohol use. 

John Schulenberg is a study author. He says the increase likely reflects changing laws around marijuana use, but it could also reflect changing views of marijuana. 

“Perceptions of harm, that is how harmful is regular marijuana use to people's psychological health, is at an all time low,” he says.

Fear about the impacts of marijuana use peaked in 1991 with 75 percent of survey respondents saying they were worried about harmful impacts from marijuana. Today that number has dropped to just 22 percent.

Schulenberg also says vaping marijuana — doubled in the last year. 

“We’ve been doing this for 40 years, and we’ve hardly ever seen anything double in one year period. This is quite a dramatic increase,” he says.

The survey also found that binge drinking dropped below 30 percent — the lowest ever among those age groups. 

“So it is still a problem but the word has gotten out and that’s dropped. The other thing we’ve seen go down is opioid use. So using narcotics other than heroin. This has also dropped for this age — not just college students but also non-college students,” he says.

Vaping nicotine has also seen an increase. Among college students it increased from 6 percent to 15 percent between 2017 and 2018.