You probably heard that Colorado and Washington state are pretty much on their way to making marijuana legal. So that means smoking weed probably isn’t so bad, right?
If you’re in that camp, you’re not alone. A new study says that teens think smoking weed occasionally isn’t a big deal at all, especially in places where it’s considered okay in the eyes of the law. Research says that 41.7 percent of eighth graders think smoking marijuana once in a while is harmful; 66.9 percent say smoking weed is pretty dangerous if you do it regularly.
Those numbers are way down from 1991, when the government first started looking into how young adults feel about marijuana use. And it turns out your views on smoking weed tend to change as you get older–you’re likely less opposed to it. Only about 20 percent of high school seniors said smoking weed once in a while is harmful, while 44 percent think using marijuana is bad if you do it regularly.
Of course, the government isn’t too stoked about the news. They expect increases in marijuana use now that there’s not as much of a legal stigma against smoking weed. The reason they’re up in arms about it? Studies have shown that smoking marijuana in your teens may actually result in alower I.Q. as an adult and leads to an increased chance of becoming psychologically addicted to it. (That may be part of the reason that legal marijuana is only available to those 21 and over in Washington and Colorado.)
Smoking marijuana is up in teens, but it may not be all bad news for the government: Though smoking weed has gone up pretty much across the board, fewer young adults are using other illegal drugs. That sort of kills the “gateway drug” argument against marijuana, right?
In any case, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though President Obama said those who use marijuana legally under Colorado and Washington’s state laws wouldn’t really be hounded it for it.
But that still means that if you live there and smoke weed if you’re not 21 yet, you’re probably still subject to trouble–so if you’re going to do it, be careful, be smart, know your rights, and know what you’re up against. Smoking weed illegally can get you in serious trouble if you’re caught. We’re not telling you what to do–you’re smart enough to make your own decisions. We just want to make sure you’re as informed as possible when you make them and that they’re the best possible for you. Because if you can’t tell, we sort of dig you here.
Do you think marijuana should be legalized? Do you think smoking weed is a big deal? Have you ever taken risks in order to smoke weed? Do you think marijuana is addictive? Do you think waiting til age 21 to smoke weed is a good rule? Tell us in the comments!