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Survey: Young Arizonans using more marijuana, fewer hard drugs

Krissy Calkins smokes a marijuana joint at a "Wake and Bake" legalized marijuana event in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.(Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

PHOENIX — Young people in Arizona are using fewer hard drugs but are using more marijuana and marijuana alternatives, this year’s Arizona Youth Survey found.

The survey found that 15.7 percent of Arizona youth used marijuana in the last 30 days. About 12 percent of youth reported smoking or vaping marijuana concentrates in that same time period.

More than 24 percent of those youth said they got the drug from someone with a medical marijuana card, while 10 percent bought it at a local dispensary.

(Courtesy photo)

“The good news is less kids are abusing prescription drugs, inhalants, and meth,” Andrew Lefevre, the director of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, said.

“However, more kids are abusing marijuana and the alternatives that come along with it,” he added.

“We are seeing a dangerous growing trend in the number of students smoking marijuana and using marijuana concentrates.”

Marijuana concentrates are a highly potent mass of THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, that often looks like honey or butter.

It contains extremely high levels of THC ranging from 40 to 80 percent, making it up to four times stronger than regular marijuana.

“Data from the past three surveys makes it abundantly clear that more youth are reporting regular use of marijuana across all grade levels,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement.

“Even more troubling is obvious and intentional misuse of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act that is allowing 25 percent of students to get their marijuana from someone with a medical marijuana card and 10 percent to buy it directly from an Arizona dispensary.”

The survey was taken by 48,708 eighth, 10th and 12th graders in each of Arizona’s 15 counties this past spring.

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