A new Monitoring the Future survey of high school students shows that opinions on marijuana are steadily changing among American youth. According to the MTF survey, only 39.5% of high school seniors view regular marijuana use as harmful, down from 44.1% just last year. These changing attitudes coincide with rising rates of marijuana use among 12th graders; 6.5% of seniors now admit to daily marijuana use, up from 6% in 2003 and 2.4% in 1993.
Government officials worry that increased marijuana use among teenagers will lead to lower IQ and diminished abilities when they are adults, even though a much-referenced study claiming IQ drops for those who use marijuana as teens has since been questioned by others in the scientific community.
While attitudes change about marijuana, abuse of some prescription drugs among teens is down, as is use of so-called "synthetic marijuana" like K2 and Spice. Use of inhalants is also down among teenagers and the use of harder drugs like cocaine and heroin shows a slow, but continued decline.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance writes in a statement: “I’m concerned to see an increase in daily marijuana use by adolescents. No one wants teenagers ‘waking and baking’ before they go to school. But that’s no reason to persist with a prohibitionist marijuana policy that has resulted in over 700,000 people getting arrested each year, enriched and empowered criminal organizations, diverted police from focusing on real crime, and done nothing to make marijuana less available to young people.”