Going to Pot: College Students Taking the Time to Toke

Read some news this morning that I don’t find all that newsworthy. According to the surveys that make up the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future report, marijuana use has been on the uptick among college-aged students since 2006.

Daily or near-daily marijuana use was reported by 5.9 percent of college students in 2014–the highest rate since 1980, the first year that complete college data were available in the study. This rate of use is up from 3.5 percent in 2007. In other words, one in every 17 college students is smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, defined as use on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days.

Here’s what I want to know: is the study suggesting that we’re raising a bunch of potheads? Or are the numbers trending upwards because there are more places than ever in the U.S. where marijuana is legal today than there ever has been before. And, not only that, marijuana possession has been significantly decriminalized even in areas where it is still technically illegal.

I don’t know why this point is not made in the survey. (At least it is not mentioned in the press release; I haven’t read the entire study.)

I also don’t know why we care. I would much rather see marijuana use trend up and alcohol use trend down. But, maybe I’m just an old hippie.