Cannabis has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years, but contemporary views on the drug vary somewhat between age groups.
Let’s take a look at Americans’ views on Mary Jane and how this has affected the drug’s social stigma and legalization in the United States.
The Silent Generation
33 percent of people aged 74 and older are opposed to legalization, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. This age group is the most opposed to legalization compared to their younger counterparts.
Those aged 55-73 make up a significant portion of marijuana consumers and generally favor its legalization. According to Pew, 56% of Baby Boomers are in favor of pot legalization. A survey conducted by Eaze on California cannabis consumers shows that on average, Boomers, the fastest growing group of cannabis consumers, spend the most money per month on weed at $95.04 per person.
57 percent of adults between ages 40 and 54 favor cannabis legalization, spending an average of $89.14 per consumer per month on weed-related products.
Millennials are avid weed consumers who make up the largest consumer group of any generation, according to Eaze. 71 percent of Millennials favor legalization. Although millennials spend less money on weed per person than older generations do, they remain a driving force in the market.
Although it’s difficult to find accurate statistics on underage weed usage, data collected from Gen Z-ers who are of age indicate that they are following in Millennials’ footsteps in a generally pro-pot direction.
Is Weed The New Alcohol?
A study shows that alcohol sales are going down in counties where weed is legal, thus indicating that people are potentially replacing drinks with joints. Eaze’s study showed that a majority of pot-consumers are purchasing less alcohol, including Millennials, the largest group of cannabis consumers. Smoke lounges are popping up in some places where pot is legal, but at present, bars and liquor stores far outnumber lounges and dispensaries. While weed is certainly not as mainstream or widely-used as alcohol, it is becoming the preferred legal drug for some.
Age is not the only factor that correlates with people’s stance on pot. Overall attitudes about marijuana legalization have changed significantly over the past decade. According to Pew, 57% of American adults surveyed were in favor of weed legalization in 2016, compared to 32% ten years prior. Reports show that fewer women than men use cannabis or vote in favor of it. According to a study at Harvard University, 49 percent of Democrats support legalization and 32 percent of Republicans support it (vs. 50% who oppose).