If cannabis were a person, we’d say they’d had a long, strange trip. Thirty years ago, most people genuinely believed that marijuana use caused cancer, killed brain cells and led more times than not to a life of harder drugs and homelessness.
Now most people realize that those were lies told to us by older generations. We know now that cannabis is actually a relatively safe substance with numerous medical benefits and amazing economic potential where legally sold. The Gateway Theory has been thoroughly debunked and multiple studies have shown that marijuana use does not cause cancer or kill brain cells.
With the destruction of the lies that have surrounded the cannabis plant and the changes in policy around the country, it should come as no surprise to anyone that marijuana use is going up among just about every age group.
In fact, according to a new study from Rockefeller Institute, since 2002 marijuana use in states without adult-use legalization laws has gone up 33% while use has gone up 47% in states with recreational legalization.
Oregon and Vermont were #1 and #2 respectively when it comes to marijuana use, with use more than doubling in Oregon since 2002. Since a myriad of studies and data reviews show that marijuana use by teens is either declining or staying the same, all of these gains have to be coming from adult age groups.
“With the continued legalization and general increase in marijuana use, knowing the data and what they mean will be increasingly important,” said Rockefeller Institute Interim Executive Director Patricia Strach. “This analysis and new data tools offer valuable guidance for policymakers going forward.”
It’s true that data is important, for many reasons. It can tell us a lot about ourselves. But we really don’t need data to know marijuana use is on the rise; it’s just common sense. If, for 80 years, we were told that drinking milk causes cancer and that’s why it’s illegal, then we were told that was all a lie and we’re making it legal again, it’s pretty safe to say that milk use would go up. This would be true for any substance under similar circumstances.
And as we learn that more people are using cannabis as a substitute for everything from alcohol to prescription drugs, we can admit that not only is the rise in use not surprising, it’s a good thing.