Objectives. To examine a potential increase in marijuana initiation among US college students as compared with their age peers not in college before and after 2013, a watershed year for increasing tolerance of marijuana use in the United States. Methods. Data come from the Monitoring the Future study, which has followed longitudinal panels drawn from annual nationally representative, baseline samples of 12th-grade students starting with the class of 1976.We studied panel members aged 19 to 22 years who had never used marijuana by 12th grade between 1977 and 2015. Results. College as a risk factor for marijuana initiation has increased significantly since 2013. The increased probability of past-year marijuana use for those enrolled versus not enrolled in college was 51% in 2015, 41% in 2014, and 31% in 2013; it averaged 17% to 22% from 1977 to 2012 among youths who had never used marijuana by 12th grade. Conclusions. College has grown as a risk factor for marijuana initiation since 2013. Public Health Implications. College students are in position to usher in new increases in population marijuana use unless colleges soon address the issue with new or modified programs for marijuana prevention and intervention. (Am J Public Health. 2017;107:996-1002.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
All authors were supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grants R01 DA 001411 and R01 DA 016575).