PUBLIC OPINION > Teen Marijuana Use Is Not That Big of a Deal
News 2012/05/04 16:00:00
We've done polls on marijuana in the past, and typically voters give it the polling equivalent of a shrug. Even if they don't smoke it or condone it, it's not as dangerous as alcohol and not worth fussing over. But a recent survey shows teen marijuana use is on the rise -- nearly 10% of teens are smoking 20 times a month or more. No wonder it's California's biggest cash crop! Teen use can be scary, though, as the longterm effects of marijuana use on developing brains is still unclear, and bad habits can form in those early years. So we asked the public if the increase in teen use is cause for concern.
Again, the majority feels marijuana is just not that big of a deal. Even with teens, the sentiment seems to be, "Better weed than alcohol." The Top Opinion read, "Sure I would prefer they didn't do all of these things but when you look at the alternatives kids that want to get high really bad probably will, and if it's not marijuana it will probably be something dangerous." Yes, weed can be bad. It can be habit-forming, and it can glue you to the couch. But hey, at least they aren't drinking hand sanitizer.
Teens themselves were exactly in-line with the overall vote -- exactly 41% are pretty concerned. As voters got a little bit older, in their early 20s, that number dipped to 29% concern. Then it worked its way back up to 57% as voters entered their 50s. Age definitely showed a pattern, but the change of heart was slow-turning, reversible, and not very passionate.
Reluctance From the Right
The two demographics that showed considerable resistance were Christians and conservatives, both coming in at about 65% concern. It's not that they think marijuana is going to destroy the youth, they're just reluctant to give it a green light. No pun intended. Plus, it's illegal, which certainly adds weight to the issue from a right-leaning perspective.
Shrug From the Smokers
As usual, smokers tend to back the marijuana users. Drinkers, too, though not as much. It would be silly to condemn the use of marijuana when you're indulging in a relatively risky substance yourself. As far as we know, like the Top Opinion said, tobacco and alcohol have more risk involved. You might be better off without it, but weed never killed anyone. Not officially, at least.
If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about teen marijuana use. We'd love to hear from you!
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