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Gen Z Prefers Weed Over Booze

The generation Z was shaped by many dynamics: social media and technology, justice movements, and access to cannabis.

This was the main takeaway of a New Frontier Data study, which specializes in cannabis policy research.

This week’s study found that 69% prefer cannabis to alcohol.

The figures are actually comparable for the two next age groups: 71% of people between 25-34 years old said that they like marijuana, and 68% said the exact same thing for those 35-44 years.

The figures are indicative of new generations of young adults, who were born during a period when recreational cannabis was legalized in many states and cities across the United States.

Polls consistently show that large numbers of Americans under the age of 25 support repealing prohibition on marijuana.

New Frontier Data noted in the study’s analysis that Generation Z, AKA “Zoomers,” or individuals born between 1997 and 2012, “were between birth or age 15 when the first states legalized cannabis.”

“Gen Z is the first generation to be of legal consumption age in an environment with widespread adult-use cannabis access,” New Frontier Data’s vice president of public policy research Amanda Reiman told Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reported that New Frontier Data’s study “included 4,170 current cannabis consumers and 1,250 nonconsumers, found that the preference seems to fade with age, with just 44% of respondents aged 65 to 74 choosing weed over booze.”

Although the research indicates that people feel more comfortable with cannabis than they did before, it is also clear that younger adults are much less likely to smoke or drink alcohol.

“A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health by researchers at the University of Washington looked at alcohol and tobacco consumption among Gen Zers in Washington during 2014-2019,” the New Frontier researchers wrote. “Those findings saw declines in each past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking, and cigarette use during that period. It is possible that the reductions were related to an overall disinterest in alcohol and tobacco among individuals in Gen Z, an observation supported in the New Frontier Data Consumer Survey.”

“Cannabis consumers aged 18-24 were most likely to say they never drank alcohol (19.7%), and the least likely to say that they drank every day (5.9%). They were also the most likely (among those under age 55) to say that they never used tobacco (39.3%), and the least likely (among those under 65) to say that they used it every day (26.3%),” the researchers continued.

Among individuals aged 18-24, “more than half (56%) reported replacing some of their alcohol with cannabis, compared to nearly 60% among ages 25-34, and more than 60% among 35-44-year-olds,” according to the study, which noted that those “rates declined further among older cohorts, from over 44% among ages 45-54, to about 43% among ages 55-64, and nearly 30% among ages 65-74.”

“The numbers suggest that young people are learning to navigate the legal cannabis landscape without adopting compulsive, increased use, and may also be less likely to consume either alcohol or tobacco, thereby making cannabis their drug of choice,” the researchers wrote in their concluding analysis. “Considering that cannabis carries a lower risk of dependence than do either alcohol or tobacco – and presents no risk of either fatal overdose (e.g., alcohol) or long-term impacts to the lungs (e.g., tobacco) – it suggests that the younger generation may indeed be making more considered choices about their consumption patterns.”