Gen Y Getting High (And Why It’s Not That Big a Deal)

Millennials are leading the charge on the legalization of marijuana. 65% of Millennials ages 18-29 favor the legalization of pot and 27% of those younger than 30 have used marijuana in the past year, triple the amount of any other generation. Boomers and Xers smoked weed as well, so how did this generation come to be at the forefront of changing the perception and dialogue around marijuana use?
 
The Gateway Myth: In contrast to cigarettes and hard drugs, which have been consistently villainized as Millennials have grown up, information on whether pot is actually bad for them has been unreliable at best. This generation was told that marijuana is the gateway drug, but increased transparency of government policies through the accessibility of information has convinced Millennials that “the D.A.R.E. program is a joke.” As they’ve gotten older, it’s become clear that not all pot users are on a slippery slope to rehab, and for some pot feels like a “healthy alternative” to alcohol and hard drugs. There is little evidence to prove otherwise. Despite sanctioned dispensaries in some states, marijuana remains in the category of heroin, ecstasy and LSD by Federal standards, influencing the lack of research surrounding the substance. But with cultural trends toward more lenient policies and an increase in the drug’s accessibility, the NIH has provided Drexel University a grant for a five-year study to examine “medical marijuana and its impact on drug use and physical and psychological health among young adults” aged 18-26 in the Los Angeles area. Previous studies have begun to uncover links between cannabis and the increased risk of stroke in young adults, as well as a drop in IQ points over time, but the evidence is still unclear as variations in weed are too hard to measure. Unless some…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “When I go out, I just go where my friends are going.”
—Female, 22, DC

Influencer marketing is on track to grow next year, despite “significant questions about its effectiveness.” According to analysis by Chute, 66% of marketers surveyed have an influencer marketing strategy in place, but the majority aren’t calculating its success by direct sales. Over eight in ten say their top goal with influencers is to reach a new audience, and to measure effectiveness more than 70% look at engagement—either through likes or comments on Instagram, sceenshots on Snapchat, etc.—followed by reach or views, and then referral link click-throughs. (Digiday)

Higher education needs to prepare itself for a new target market. A steep drop in births during the Great Recession is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of U.S. high school graduates, especially among Caucasians: according to a Georgetown Center report, in 2030 white students will account for less than half of high school graduates. Growth within the Hispanic community can offset the decline, signifying that “schools will need to re-orient themselves toward a Hispanic, first-generation population to stay competitive.” (The Wall Street Journal

Health-conscious Millennials have some misconceptions when it comes to GMOs. New Pew Research shows that 21% of 18-29-year-olds believe genetically modified foods are “very likely” to lead to health issues, and 25% believe they create problems for the environment. But in actuality, scientific research says that GM foods are safe to eat, and as long as they’re developed properly “don’t pose any unique, undue threat to the environment.” The study also found that 12% follow vegetarian or vegan diets, which according to scientific research is a healthy habit to take on. (NYMAG

All tech toys are not created equal—according to the Institution for Engineering and Technology. Created with the “mission to encourage more girls to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology,” the Institution recently found that stem toys are three times more likely to target boys over girls, and nine out of ten “girls’ toys” are pink. The Institution reports the stereotypically gendered toys could actually deter young girls interested in engineering. (The Guardian)

Live video is increasingly becoming the space to watch for audience engagement. According to MarketsandMarkets, live video will be a $70 billion industry by 2021, and on Facebook, live content is generating 10x the amount of comments than typical videos. The holidays have proven to be an ideal opportunity for brands looking to dive in on the trend: Lowe’s Black Friday deals unveiling on Facebook Live reached an audience of 32,000 during broadcast, while Taco Bell’s livestream of their annual Friendsgiving dinner generated as many as 150,000 viewers. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “When I go out I look for pool tables…or something to do other than drink.”

—Female, 23, CA

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