Why Baby Boomers Might Be the Force Behind Legalizing Marijuana

One of the main arguments against legalization of marijuana has always been centered around the health and safety of children and teens — but according to new research, it seems that teens aren’t too concerned with using marijuana recreationally, nor are they making up the majority of pot smokers who flock to the states that have legalized the substance.

According to TIME, more older adults are choosing to retire on the West Coast, particularly in Oregon. Not only does the state provide a good climate and healthcare opportunities, but it also legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in November 2014 — and this last fact in particular is no coincidence, TIME stated.

Currently, Oregon is joined by Colorado, Alaska, and Washington as the four states where marijuana has been legalized for recreation, while 23 states and the District of Columbia all permit medical marijuana.

According to TIME, the legal marijuana market reached $2.7 billion in 2014, and this annual revenue is expected to increase to $3.4 billion this year.

Certainly retirees aren’t the only ones causing this number to rise — according to a recent report from Penn State, marijuana use has been on rise among teens but the rate of alcohol and cigarette consumption has remained constant, or has even decreased, since more young adults began consuming marijuana.

The findings were discovered by a research team at the University of Michigan and were part of an ongoing project called Monitoring the Future, where data from between 1976 and 2013 was collected and analyzed; over 600,000 teens were surveyed regarding their marijuana, alcohol, and cigarette consumption during the time period and researchers found that when teens consumed more marijuana, there tended to be an overall decrease in cigarette use.

Although no pro-marijuana groups are advocating for the drug to be legalized for teens, it seems worth noting that none of the research has shown that teens consuming marijuana will necessary turn toward hard drugs in the future — and it’s also worth noting that the majority of marijuana consumers are already of retirement age.


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