If you grew up in an American household where your parents chastised you and warned you about the dangers of smoking marijuana, while at the same time disclaiming that they ever personally fell to the temptation of trying it, there’s a 52% percent chance they were lying, according to a recent poll. Well, maybe they weren’t both lying, but the math indicates that you may have at least one parent who should dress up as Shady McShaderton for this coming Halloween!
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion teamed up with Yahoo news recently, and conducted a poll, where they found that nearly 129 million American adults admit to trying marijuana at some point in their lifetime. Of the American adults who admit to trying cannabis, a whopping 44%, say they still use the plant. Only 22% of American adults admit to currently using cannabis, but of the current users, 65% say they use the plant regularly, which is to say they use it at least once per month. 65% of those who admit to trying cannabis at some point in their lifetime, say that they are parents, and roughly half the parents are parents of children under the age of 18.
In a bit of an ironic twist, 70% of the respondents in the poll stated they thought their parents would be disappointed to know they were recreational users of cannabis, and 58% of the respondents who claimed to be parents, said they thought their children would be disappointed to learn their mother of father enjoyed marijuana recreationally.
The fact that these statistics are fairly close, makes it hard to believe that parents and their older children haven’t found out about the other’s use of the plant. Surprisingly though, 28% of parents say they’ve never even had a single conversation with their children about cannabis, only 33% say they have regular conversations with their children about it, and only 40% say they’ve had 1-3 conversations about it.
According to the poll, these statistics are up significantly from previous generations. 95% of the Silent-Greatest Generation (births between 1910-1924), and 72% of the Baby Boomer Generation (births between 1946-1964) were the most likely generations to say their parents never spoke to them about marijuana. Sadly, it seems to be a hush-hush situation, likely because of the stigma still attached to using cannabis because of its illegal status. It almost makes it seem as though communication could be the greatest issue in overcoming the “darkness” surrounding the benefits of cannabis.
The title of the study is called “Weed and the American Family”, and it incorporates everything from regulation, to clandestine usage of cannabis in relationships, to the demographic profiles of cannabis users, to political identity and recent voting tallies for the 2016 election. In reading the poll, we are again reminded of the shift in public opinion, as the article cites statistics that eight out of ten Americans strongly support the legalization of medical marijuana.
It begs the following question: When will it become common sense for the federal government to separate cannabis from its current classification as a dangerous schedule 1 drug? In all seriousness, the federal government still sees the use of cannabis, which has now been legalized in some capacity by 29 sovereign states, as the same thing as using heroin. While heroin and other opioids destroy American communities every day, cannabis sits in the back pocket of the federal government, where federal criminal enforcement is still used to hand down life changing sentences to those possessing the plant.
While the federal classification seems to be the greatest hurdle in overcoming the stigma attached to cannabis, the true healing is communication. When people share their ideas freely without fear of social backlash, more people who feel uncomfortable admitting their position find ways to be strong and speak up. This is what we are seeing now as people come around to the idea that cannabis is not evil.
When more of these people speak to not only their friends and families about their beliefs, but also to their elected officials about it, it paves the way to change. Before long, the laws will change to accommodate the views of the American people, just as they have slowly done with racism, same-sex marriage, and a host of other issues throughout the nation’s history. The law is one of the slowest changes to make, but it always comes around when leaders lead.