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…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

“I don't spend money, really on anything. I enjoy video games and will enjoy getting video games, but I receive as gifts from grandparents, parents”—Female, 14, IA

Airbnb is booming in Africa, where young travelers are “looking for culture rather than comfort.” Over two million people have used Airbnb in Africa to book vacation accommodations in the last five years, reportedly earning African hosts $139 million in just the past year. Wanderlusting Millennials are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to discover new places, rather than retread old ground, and locales like Africa are getting a boost because of it. (Quartz)

Nielsen says they finally have a way to measure Netflix viewership—but Netflix says they’re way off base. Nielsen claims they can keep track of all viewing on the platform, including originals, “whether or not a studio or network wants them to.” Netflix claims, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.” Ouch. Regardless, Nielsen’s move is a step in the right direction to measure what The Post-TV Genis watching, and has “direct implications for the ad business.” (MediaPostAdAgeFortune)

Influencers are using Instagram’s new polling feature, beating brands to the punch. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future. Polling is not only an opportunity to engage with customers but a way for brands to “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media and [conduct] market research.” But brands have been slow to ask influencers to use the new story feature for promotions or to utilize the feature on their standalone accounts. (Glossy)

High school students are increasingly taking college courses—but little is known about whether it will benefit them. Thanks to dual-enrollment programs, which are expanding rapidly, students can get a head start on college credits, cutting down on the cost of higher education. Some also argue that Advanced Placement courses are more rigorous, and worthier of students’ extra effort. However, the impacts of programs on “a diverse set of students” is not yet known. (WSJ)

Kids have online influencers too, and they’re pushing branded toys to devoted viewers. Unboxing videos on YouTube are not a new phenomenon, but kid stars unboxing toys are getting brands’ attention as a way to leverage The Influencer Effect. MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, pivoted 90% of their ad spend to digital in 2014 and report the strategy is paying off. Studies show children’s attention is switching from cable to YouTube, and influencers help brands reach a “much more engaged smaller audience” and give them “that potential for virality.” (Bloomberg)

"I love coffee and love the experience of having someone make me a nice latte. I like being around other people and hanging out in restaurants or cafes.”—Female, 20, PA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies