From 41 percent in 2002 to a mere 23 percent in 2013—those are the disapproval ratings of millennials for marijuana according to a new study published by the University of Texas in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. But despite the dramatic decrease in disapproval ratings, there was only a two percent increase in marijuana usage among adults aged 18-25.
Lead author Christopher Salas-Wright thinks that the changing view on marijuana is reflected in the study. “The rise of medical marijuana, the relaxing of marijuana use laws, and increased exposure of marijuana as perhaps normative—as well as no longer immoral—may be influencing how young adults feel about others using marijuana, but not impacting beliefs about one’s own use of marijuana,” he said.
University of Vermont alumnus Zachary Pion agrees with Salas-Wright. He said, “I would say I’ve always had a strong opposition to marijuana usage, but seeing it so freely in my college experience, I became far less sensitized to its usage very quickly, even though it did not impact my own decision to not use the substance.”
Salas-Wright said that the findings show that changes in public policy did not translate to increased use of marijuana among younger adolescents aged 12 -17. This might be because they are not surrounded by peers who smoke weed.
“With increased access to unbiased education for this age group, students and young adults are freer to make their own decisions and formulate their own opinions without the oversight and pressure of perhaps more conservative family or friends,” Pion added.
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