For decades, thanks to the “just say no” campaigns and the war on drugs, American kids grew up believing that marijuana was two things: Dangerous and cool, and with each descriptor enhancing the other. There were entire weeks in elementary school devoted to this sort of thing, and it not only embedded this idea in the minds of the American youth, but it also reinforced the concept among the older parents and grandparents who were present in their school lives.
Well, thanks to the surviving hippies of the 60’s and 70’s, marijuana is getting a second shot here in the United States, where, if legalized nationally, could create an economic boom heard ’round the world.
But there are concerns, of course, that marijuana being sold on every corner will entice the youth to partake at too young an age, (the time when studies have shown that marijuana can have effects on developing brains).
Well there’s good news: It turns out that legalizing marijuana actually drives teenagers away from using it.
Once again, researchers have found that when a state legalizes marijuana, the number of teens using cannabis doesn’t increase. Instead, it drops.
The new study found an 8 percent drop in the number of students who used marijuana in the previous 30 days in states where recreational marijuana is legal. It also found a 9 percent drop in the number of high school students who said they had used marijuana at least 10 times in the previous 30 days in those same states.
The findings of both studies are even more interesting given the fact that a survey by the University of Michigan in late 2017 found use of marijuana among teens had increased across the entire country when non-legal states are included. That study found that use among teenagers in the 8th, 10th and 12th grade had increased by 24 percent from the previous year.
Perhaps this is the cycle of “hip” coming back to haunt us. These young people are viewing the world through the lens of generational acuity that we cannot. They may see weed as “uncool”, due to its lack of danger. Maybe they just don’t want to be caught engaging in any activity that their uncool parents partake in.
In either case, it certainly seems like the youth of American are doing just fine.