Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Expect More Teens To Smoke Marijuana In 2020

Simply put, kids like weed, and they are finding ways to get their hands on it, just like you did with booze back in the day.

It’s officially 2020, so it’s time you finally realize that much of the puff, puff, pitch spewing from the mouths of die-hard cannabis advocacy groups is just talk. They may tell you that the legalization of marijuana is a sure-fire way to keep your kids from getting stoned on the regular, or that establishing a taxed and regulated market makes weed unappealing to whippersnappers. In reality, little Timmy and Janie are more interested in pot than ever before.

That’s right, the secret is out. Parental figures from all walks of life should consider themselves warned. The cold hard fact of the matter is that teens are destined to get more red-eyed and ripped in the new year because, well, it’s a trend that has been swelling ever since Colorado and Washington became the first states to go green. Simply put, kids like weed, and they are finding ways to get their hands on it, just like you did with booze back in the day.

For a while, it was starting to look as if the claims that legal weed was boring in the eyes of the great American adolescent were valid. In fact, a National Survey on Drug Use and Health published in 2017 showing pot use in teens (ages 12-17) indicated that they were smoking less marijuana in all but one of the five states that had ended prohibition. This was the tale of the tape spanning from 2014 to 2016 — right when adult use was first starting to take hold across the country.

RELATED: Legal Weed Does Not Increase Underage Cannabis Use

Of course, this gave the pro-pot folks some vindication because all of the sudden, there was finally some validity to the claims they had been feeding everyone from the public to politicians in their fight to bring weed to the mainstream. The stats also reported that teens were losing their lust for alcohol, tobacco and heroin, too. And parents rejoiced that the kids of today were becoming a little more straight edge and boring than when they were coming up in the world. 

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Photo by OlegMalyshev/Getty Images

But then it happened. Teens, all of a sudden, started getting high. Reports began to surface a couple of years ago showing that while the kids of today were, in fact, smarter about avoiding the dangers of booze and cigarettes, that wasn’t stopping them from exploring the wastelands of inebriation with the help of our old friend Mary Jane.

Researchers from Columbia University said in 2018 that kids have bought into the “marijuana is safer” hype and are now dabbling in the doobie more than anything else. The study showed that while the youth from the 1990s was most curious about cigarettes, that all changed over the past decade. They have since kicked the Marlboro man down the dusty trail, and now, cannabis has become the nitty-gritty of teenage rebellion. 

RELATED: Teenagers Ditch Alcohol And Cigarettes For Weed And Vaping

Even the latest Monitoring the Future survey from the University of Michigan, which is paid for by the federal government, shows the youth has gone wild for weed. Pot use among high school seniors has nearly doubled from where it was 30 years ago. And Wall Street investment firms are telling their investors that juvenile weed consumption is a solid reason to stay the course when it comes to their pot-infused portfolios. Because, as it was so eloquently put by Cowen and Company, “teenage cannabis consumption has interestingly remained fairly steady.” Therefore, they will likely grow up to become the cannabis industry’s customers of tomorrow. 

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So, while everyone is making predictions for 2020, mine is that we will continue to see higher rates of teenage pot consumption sweeping the country. The black market is still too strong to prevent kids from getting their hands on weed. It’s like they always say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Now, that doesn’t mean that increased pot consumption in this demographic is going to create a population of zombie burnouts and ultimately contribute to the demise of civil society. There’s still no evidence that pot use is a gateway to harder drugs, and the rate of dependency is extremely low. That means parents shouldn’t flip their script if they discover their teen is part of this new toking trend.

It’s just a shift in the scene. Still, it’s one they say could stunt the growth of their maturing brains. But considering that these fiends are already intellectually stifled by cell phones, social media, video games and other digital lesions of the soul, I’m going out on a limb and saying that not much more damage can be done. We’ve always known that times were a-changing, but nobody ever promised it would be for the better.


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