As amazing as it seems now, it was just the middle of last century that marijuana was being demonized as a drug that would destroy lives. Now, headlines state that marijuana no longer taboo among the younger population.
Starting with films in the first half of the 20th Century – most notably the 1936 film “Reefer Madness” – marijuana was portrayed as a drug that lead to madness, suicide and criminal behavior. To this day, it remains classified as a Schedule 1 illegal narcotic by the federal government.
But in just the past decade, things have changed quickly. Four states – Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia – have legalized marijuana for recreational use by those over 21. More are expected to vote on it this year.
And almost half the states in the country have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.
Where once the country’s youth were educated to fear the use of marijuana, studies are showing that the nation’s younger generations are permissive about pot.
Marijuana No Longer Taboo: New Study On Youth’s View of Pot
Anyone who grew up in the 1960s or any American generation thereafter knows that pot is extremely popular among the nation’s young people – and it also came with the threat of being arrested for buying it or possessing it.
But while kids were expected to grow up and out of any interest in marijuana, it now has become socially acceptable among many to use routinely, much like having a drink in the evening is a ritual for many.
This is especially true among the younger generation, according to a new study from the University of California – San Francisco. The study, published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, finds that attitudes toward marijuana use are no different for young people living in states where cannabis is legal or in states where it isn’t.
According to a report on the study in Forbes, researchers wrote that “this raises the possibility that the progressive liberalization of marijuana control policies at the state level has culminated in a national debate that is influencing all young Americans regardless of the states they dwell in.
“Our analysis also suggests that more permissive attitudes may be drivers in the liberalization of state marijuana control policies.”
Attitudes Changing Even Among Older Americans
The study looked at results from surveys on attitudes toward marijuana over the past decade and found that the younger generation increasingly favors legalization of cannabis.
That attitude mirrors what is happening with older Americans, as well. In 2015, a poll from Gallup found that 58% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, the third consecutive year that a majority favored legalization.
A 2016 CBS poll also found that a majority support legalization, while a whopping 90 percent support legalizing pot for medical use. That same poll found 51% said they had tried marijuana, up from 43 percent in 2015. Of those polled, 71 percent under the age of 35 support legalization.
All of this supports the belief that the acceptance of marijuana is on the rise, led by the nation’s younger generations.