How will legalizing marijuana affect addiction treatment?

  1. Marijuana is addictive. In 2011, approx. 4.2 million people met the diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence.
  2. One in 6 teens who ever smoke marijuana develop addiction; 3 out of 4 people in treatment for marijuana dependence (adult or teen) started using marijuana before age 17.
  3. Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among people who use marijuana daily (to 25-50 percent).
  4. Long-term studies of high school students show that few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana.
  5. Delaying the use of marijuana and other mood altering drugs until the age of 21 significantly decreased the likelihood of future addiction.
  6. It is a myth that our jails are filled with people who were arrested only for marijuana drug possession. In fact about .3% are in jail for possession only. 
  7. In Colorado, of those high school students who binge drink, 57% also use marijuana.
  8. In reality, less than one out of every 200 inmates in a state prison system is incarcerated due to first-time marijuana use or possession. And many of those who are incarcerated have pled down from more serious charges. The fact is most inmates are incarcerated for multiple, non-marijuana drug offenses, often involving trafficking or violence.