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Survey: More young adults in Washington smoke weed on a daily basis

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(The Center Square) – Members of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board were briefed Tuesday on the latest Young Adult Health Survey.

Conducted by University of Washington researchers, the survey of adults aged 18-25 was conducted in late 2023, asking questions about marijuana and alcohol use, as well as mental health.

The 2023 report is the 10th year the research has been conducted in Washington, starting in 2014 just before the first recreational cannabis stores were opening.

In 2012, Washington became the first state in the country to legalize recreational use of marijuana and the first to allow recreational marijuana sales.

A total of 1,237 young adults took part in the most recent anonymous survey answering questions such as “How often in the last year, month or week have you used marijuana?”

“The number of young adults smoking marijuana every day is higher than ever at 10.4%,” UW researcher Dr. Jason Kilmer told members of the board.

For those 21-25 years old, it’s at 14% daily use.

The doctor said in addition to that daily use increase, “endorsing symptoms associated with cannabis use disorder have gone up, so certainly as use goes up, risk for things like cannabis use disorder go up as well.”

Cannabis use disorder is described as continued use despite significant harmful impacts, including paranoia and memory loss, and disruption of relationships and life in general.

Kilmer told members that 25% of adults aged 21-25 surveyed are using marijuana at least once a week, and for those aged 18-20, that number is more than 14%.

Kilmer said nearly 54% disclosed that they never use cannabis.

The age for legal purchase of cannabis in Washington state is 21, so where are the 18-20-year-olds getting it?

Kilmer said, “15.77% got it from parents with permission.”

By comparison, only 5.7% said they got pot from their parents with permission in 2014. That means nearly three times as many 18-20 year olds are getting weed from their parents than they said they did 10 years ago.

The majority, 58%, of respondents aged 18-20 said they get it from their friends.

Just this month federal officials have been moving to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

What about vaping and alcohol use for minors?

One-quarter of respondents aged 18-20 said they have vaped at least once in the last year, and 57% say they drank alcohol in the last year; hard alcohol being the drink of choice for the majority of young adults.