Recent research shows that the majority of pot smokers look nothing like the college-educated millennials you think they do.
When you think of someone you know who smokes weed, you probably think of yourself (great job) and your friends, who are probably in college or have recently graduated. Maybe your little wolfpack likes to lay out on the grass in the quad on a nice tapestry, light up a blunt, and discuss the finer things in life, like the House of Cards finale or polyamory.
Well guess what, fuckers? You're a minority.
That's because according to a recent study by Carnegie Mellon, the people who smoke weed the most in this country are a lot less Whole Foods and a lot more WalMart than you'd think. In fact, the study's analysis of data from the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that “college grads account for only about one-in-six days of use," the common measurement for national marijuana use.
The remaining 5/6 of today’s stoners comprise a group that is predominately high-school graduates, people who attended a little college but then were like, "nah," high school dropouts and teens whose dreams are still intact. All these population groups tend to have pretty meager incomes, which, according to the study, means that “they are likely to be price-sensitive and drawn to less costly brands." In beer analogy terms, that means today's average pot smoker is like Bud Light, not artisinal Nitro Milk Stout.
The profile of the average weed user is, then, remarkably similar to that of today's average cigarrette smoker: low-income, low-education and still kind of a newb at this whole "life" thing.
So, the stereotype of the 20-something, philosophy B.A. weed snob gingerly testing out various sativas in his local dispensary doesn't quite fit. So why has that image proliferated as the emblem of modern stonerism?
We'd say it has something to do with who's reporting about marijuana today. It may be that journalists, pundits, elected officials and policy analysts who discuss weed and publish things about it, have a tendency to overestimate the representativeness of their own experience. Although it's just human nature to do so, the college-educated internet generation portrays and discusses the world they know, which seems to be only a small picture of the U.S. marijuana scene.
We here at Rooster are probably guiltier than anyone of over-representing our own experience with weed; we are, after all in Colorado where weed has become normalized and many of our clients are dispensaries, so we tend to downplay the fact that the majority of the country doesn't smoke weed like we do. Does that mean we're going to start reporting about the secret lives teen stoners in West Virginia? We mean maybe … is there molly involved?
Anyway, since both criminal sanctions and any potential health damage caused by weed would fall more heavily on lower income groups, college-educated public policymakers and advocates might be interested in a closer examination of how marijuana use and policy affects the lives of those on the bottom of the pyramid. In contrast, we predict that as the stereotype of today's average pot user begins to more accurately reflect those with lower socioeconomic statuses, quick-thinking marijuana entrepreneurs might pursue potential fortune by exploiting the interests and behaviors of those groups. The Carnegie Mellon study predicts that “this will lead them to promote value-priced brands, not just high-end artisanal versions."
Well, if that's what it takes to end the entitled scourge of mustachioed weed snobbery, we say go for it.