Teenagers love testing boundaries. They enjoy courting danger. They are, in general, thrill seekers.
For some, the thrill of scoring illegal drugs is very tempting.
Most drug users will tell you there is a “high” in the act of just scoring more drugs. There is danger, excitement, suspense.
Legalization of marijuana has removed a lot of that real and/or perceived danger from purchasing marijuana.
For starters, legalization takes away the profit motive for drug dealers. Why sell marijuana and risk prosecution if your customer base can just go to a dispensary to get their stash?
Of course, teens cannot buy marijuana at dispensaries in the first place, but the same is true of alcohol and the liquor store. Unless we missed something, no one is running a still that caters to the teen market.
Drinking alcohol is a social thing and is far more acceptable to society as a whole, which goes a long way in explaining why teens drink to begin with.
Alcohol is sold and consumed at a variety of gatherings– sporting events, concerts– and is advertised on television and in magazines.
This is not true of marijuana, even in states where is legal for recreational use.
There are no ads on TV featuring supermodels or characters like Spuds McKenzie, glamorizing marijuana use for impressionable young people to see.
Even where it is legal, public consumption of marijuana is generally restricted and more frequently, banned altogether.
Going to score drugs from a drug dealer is an exciting adventure. Buying them at the store is rather mundane. For a teenager, there is not much danger involved with standing in front of a liquor store asking adults to buy you a bottle of booze.
In fact, it’s kind of pathetic and not exactly, “cool”.
In states where marijuana is legal, and the black market no longer exists, the thrill of scoring weed is gone.
Perhaps this explains the drop in teen marijuana use in states where it’s been legalized. It’s just not cool anymore.
Add to that the negatives of smoking in general.
Teen cigarette use is way down from 20 years ago, in part because it’s been vilified as unhealthy and a nasty habit to boot. Not smoking is way cooler than smoking to today’s youth.
Which brings us to Tide Pods.
Tide Pods have killed more people in the past 6 months than marijuana has in it’s whole history, and they don’t even get you high!
Yet we see thrill seeking teenagers eating plastic detergent pods simply for the thrill.
No high, no addiction issues… just the thrill of doing something, well, incredibly stupid.
Legalization for recreational use means no more dangerous drug deals in seedy neighborhoods. No more dealers battling for turf. Just a trip to the store.
No excitement there.