As marijuana legalization gains popularity, more people are also realizing that many of the stigmas about cannabis are not true. And it appears that's true among young people as well.
A new survey of 275,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 21 reveal that people are choosing marijuana as their preferred substance over alcohol and cigarettes. The survey, conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, showed that in 2014 around eight percent of young people said marijuana was the first drug they ever used, up 4.8 percent in 2004. Meanwhile the rates of young smokers decreased from 21 percent to nine percent from 2014 to 2004, which indicates that younger people are more aware of the dangers of cigarettes while also realizing that marijuana isn't as bad as people make it seem.
Now, some people might look at these statistics and go, "Wait, young people are smoking marijuana more than they used to! So cannabis legalization is bad!" But that's not quite the case. While the number of young people using marijuana has increased, the number of teens abstaining from any illicit substances is increasing as well. 46 percent of the young people surveyed in 2014 said they don't use any substances whatsoever, up 10 percent from 2004. This is consistent with other survey and poll data in recent years that show that teen marijuana and drug use either hasn't increased or has decreased in the years since marijuana legalization began.
All of the data from this survey suggests that teens are probably more well-educated about the substances they put in their body today than they were 10 years ago.
So is it a coincidence that young people are also more likely to support marijuana legalization?