A common argument against the legalization of marijuana is that it will increase the number of teens using the substance; however, new information seems to suggest that legalization has had the most profound effect on parents, not teenagers.
According to a 10-year study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 percent of 35 to 44 year olds regularly used marijuana, compared to 7.4 percent of teens. This marks the first time that adult use of marijuana has surpassed teen use since at least 2002.
While that’s a significant shift for 35 to 44 year olds, the most dramatic shifts occurred among older Americans.
For adults between the ages of 45 and 54, marijuana use jumped by nearly 54 percent. For adults in the 55 to 64 age group, marijuana use skyrocketed by 455 percent, while use among the 65 and older crowd saw a 333 percent increase.
“During the last 13 years, marijuana use (i.e., past-month marijuana use) has steadily increased in the United States, particularly among people aged 26 years or older,” said study author Alejandro Azofeifa to The Washington Post. “Older groups had a significant increase of marijuana use in the past month.”
Although researchers are reticent to name a single cause, possible ideas behind the increase include increased access to medical marijuana and nostalgic baby boomers hoping to reconnect with their past.