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December 24, 2016

Survey: More Pennsylvanians using marijuana, but fewer teens are

A higher percentage of Pennsylvanians are using marijuana, but usage among the state's teenagers has dropped, according to federal data.

The recently published National Survey on Drug Use and Health compared drug use statistics from 2008-2009 to 2014-2015. According to the data, 12.35 percent of all respondents over the age of 12 had tried marijuana in the last year during the 2014-2015 period.

That's an uptick from 2008-2009, when the figure was 10.04 percent. However, useage among respondents aged 12-17 dropped from 12.87 to 11.88.

The statistics were similar when respondents were asked if they had used marijuana in the last month. Overall, the number jumped from 5.81 to 7.73 in Pennsylvania. But for the state's teens, it fell from 7.19 to 6.98.

The data coincides with another recent national study that found marijuna useage among teenagers had dropped "significantly" in recent years.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Pennsylvania in April for patients suffering from one of 17 qualifying conditions. The drug was only approved for use in pill, oil or ointment form.

The state recently announced new developments in rolling out the medical marijuana program. Officials expect sales of the drug to start by mid-2018.

Since the legalization of medical marijuana, lawmakers and activists have floated the possibility of pushing for legalizing the drug for recreational use.

In June, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, began seeking co-sponsors for potential legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

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