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

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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