Marijuana? We baby boomers have shifted from promoting it to putting it down … but now, according to Paul Briand of Examiner.com, we’re shifting our views once again.
The country as a whole is more accepting now of legalizing marijuana.
The shifting attitude is led, ironically enough, by Baby Boomers, who were all for the legalization of marijuana during their potheads days in the 1960s and 1970s but whose attitudes shifted when they turned 30 and 40.
“Half (50 percent) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In 1978, 47 percent of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1990. Since 1994, however, the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24 percent to 50 percent,” said the Pew Research Center in a new survey.
It said support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12 percent favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84 percent were opposed.
The Millennials — the echo boom sons and daughters of Baby Boomers — are most in favor of legalization.
Some states are relaxing criminal penalties against possessing and using small amounts of marijuana – with Colorado the most recent.
Part of the shift in law toward legalization (or at least decriminalization) comes from a shift away from the belief that marijuana use serves as a gateway to the use of other, more addictive drugs such as heroin.
Again, it’s an age thing.
Older Americans — the so-called Silents — still hold – by a 60 percent margin, according to Pew – that marijuana leads to harder drugs.
Pew said the view of Boomers hasn’t changed much in 30 some odd years: 37 percent of Boomers currently say that marijuana use leads to the use of hard drugs; in 1977, 39 percent expressed this view.