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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010
NCES 2011-002
November 2010

Indicator 16: Students' Use of Marijuana on School Property and Anywhere

In 2009, 21 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported using marijuana anywhere at least one time in the past 30 days, while 5 percent reported using marijuana at least one time on school property.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey asked students in grades 9–12 whether they had used marijuana at all (referred to as "anywhere" in this indicator) in the past 30 days as well as whether they had used marijuana on school property in the past 30 days.34 According to students’ reports in 2009, students were four times more likely to use marijuana anywhere than on school property. Of students in grades 9–12, twenty-one percent reported using marijuana at least one time anywhere in the past 30 days, while 5 percent reported using marijuana at least one time on school property in the past 30 days (figure 16.1 and table 16.1).

The percentage of students who reported using marijuana anywhere at least one time in the past 30 days was higher in 1999 (27 percent) than in 1993 (18 percent). Between 1999 and 2009, the percentage of students who reported using marijuana anywhere had declined to 21 percent. However, there was no measurable difference between the percentage of students who reported using marijuana anywhere in 2005 and the percentage who reported using it anywhere in 2009. With regard to marijuana use on school property, the percentage of students who reported using marijuana decreased between 1993 and 2009. In 1999, 7 percent of students reported using marijuana at least one time during the past 30 days on school property, and by 2009 this percentage had declined to 5 percent (figure 16.1 and table 16.1).

In every survey year, higher percentages of males than females reported using marijuana anywhere and on school property (figure 16.1 and table 16.1). For example, in 2009, 23 percent of males reported using marijuana anywhere during the previous 30 days, compared to 18 percent of females. According to students’ reports, male students were twice as likely as females to use marijuana on school property in 2009 (6 percent vs. 3 percent, respectively). There were also differences between males and females in the reported number of times using marijuana in the past 30 days. Six percent of males reported using marijuana 40 times or more anywhere in the past 30 days, compared to 2 percent of females. One percent of males reported using marijuana 40 times or more on school property, compared to less than one-half percent of females (figure 16.2 and table 16.2).

Student reports on marijuana use anywhere and on school property differed by racial/ethnic group in 2009. Generally, the percentage of Asian students reporting using marijuana anywhere and on school property during the previous 30 days was smaller than that of most other racial/ethnic groups (figure 16.3 and table 16.1). For example, 7 percent of Asian students reported using marijuana anywhere, compared to 21 percent of White students; 22 percent each of Black students, Hispanic students, and students of two or more races; 25 percent of Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian students; and 32 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students. Similarly, a smaller percentage of Asian students (2 percent) reported using marijuana on school property than White students (4 percent), students of two or more races (5 percent), Black students and Hispanic students (6 percent each), and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian students (9 percent). There was no statistically significant difference between the percentage of Asian students and the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students reporting using marijuana on school property.

The percentages of 9th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students, who reported using marijuana anywhere in 2009 were lower than the percentages of students in those grades who used marijuana anywhere in 1999 (table 16.1). However, compared to a decade ago, there was no significant change in the percentage of 11th-graders who reported using marijuana anywhere. Lower percentages of students at each of grade levels 9 through 12 reported using marijuana on school property in 2009 than in 1999.

In 2009, a smaller percentage of 9th-graders reported using marijuana anywhere (16 percent), than 10th-graders (21 percent), 11th-graders (23 percent), and 12th-graders (25 percent) (figure 16.4 and table 16.1). There were no measurable differences between the percentages of students in any of the grades 9 thought 12 who reported the use of marijuana on school property in 2009.

State level data were available in 42 states for students who reported using marijuana anywhere and in 38 states for students who reported using marijuana on school property. The percentage of students who reported using marijuana anywhere and on school property, varied among the states for which data were available in 2009. Among these states, the percentage of students who reported using marijuana anywhere ranged from 10 percent in Utah to 28 percent in New Mexico, while the percentage of students who reported using marijuana on school property ranged from 3 percent in Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota to 10 percent in New Mexico (table 16.3).

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34 "On school property" was not defined for survey respondents.

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