By Marguerite Arnold

Millennials are facing many challenges and a changing status quo.

When it comes to pot, it is obvious to see that the younger generation has pretty much made up their minds about the issue. Cannabis should be legal. Millennials are also far more accepting than their parents.

What does this mean and look like?

Obviously, today's pot culture has been shaped by more than one nostalgic nod to Boomer attitudes and traditions. That said, this generation wants to define their own take on cannabis. Generation Y, as a result, is also evolving its own views and attitudes.

Sure, there are still “hippies.” There are also fairly conservative people who smoke pot. That was true even "back in the day." These distinctions do not really tell the biggest part of the story.

Here is what does. Millennials accept marijuana. They understand that there is still stigma around it, even if they do not perpetuate it. It is less than it was, but still there.

millennials cannabis position

And for all the acceptance today, there are plenty of millennials who understand that they should not post themselves toking up on Facebook. There are also those working in the industry who are still shy about it. Further, they also fear the impact weed work will have on their careers down the road.

The reality? Pot pics are best kept private. But a weed-centric position on a CV does not automatically doom entry into other kinds of employment these days. It also really depends on where you are and what you do. Programmers of professional pot apps, for example, are no longer so afraid of industry association. Celebrity endorsements of the plant are also changing attitudes.

While working at a dispensary or grow-op might not be the best entry into a banking career, it does not look "bad" per se. A marketing job in the industry, for example, could easily be a stepping stone elsewhere in today's diverse, niche marketplace.

This is water that millennials are absolutely testing. No wonder they are pretty cautious, especially when it comes to employment.


Here is the first difference, broadly speaking, between millennials and older generations. Millennials have actually seen change move quickly. They have witnessed the incredible impact of activism and organisation on shaping new laws and perhaps have even weighed in themselves.

Millennials, like everyone else, are influenced by the status quo. That is the reason, overwhelmingly, that they support pot reform.[1]

This generation certainly does not stigmatise the issue. They are also the largest segment of the population now seeking a jobs in the legal industry.

Millennials generation cannabis recreational use


Here is another interesting tidbit. Millennials also tend to see marijuana as a “safer” alternative to alcohol. They are not the only generation who thinks this way, but as the largest living generation and the one with a lot of buying power, this is a significant development. Men[2], including of this generation, still tend to buy more pot than women. 52% of Millennials[3] at this point believe that marijuana is less dangerous than drinking. That is a lot of people to support a market still in development.

Historically, pot has also been a very male pastime (at least that is how it has been promoted). However, many women use the drug and have done so for centuries. As more and more women move into the industry, this will continue to expand. Millennials are a driving force behind this as well.

Millennials also account for the largest segment of recreational users. Just over 20% of recreational users are adults aged 25-29. 51.8% of the rec market is comprised of consumers between the ages of 21 and 34. The median recreational budget for this population is around 645 U.S. dollars a year.

On the medical side of things, it is quite unclear who is using the drug and for what purpose. Women certainly can benefit from the drug as patients. Yet, in situations where access is problematic, women often fail to win the battles they fight. Weed as a woman’s issue is likely to become a bigger and bigger conversation as this generation ages.

Young people are most likely to be recreational users. But some are patients too. When it comes to medical pot use, millennials accept this as normal. Despite the battles still waging over legalization, medical pot has more or less been accepted in this century.


Reality? The fact is, the vast majority of millennials see this issue as a done deal. It may not be here yet, but it is obviously coming. Full reform is going to be pretty global in a decade. Millennials are, in general, cool with that.

Are millennials coming up with their own take on legalization? You bet. And while they are far from being the only generation to make a strong impact on legalization, millennials are making their voices heard.

External Resources:
  1. Millennials and marijuana: Lingering caution about being open about use
  3. NEW REPORT: Millennials prefer marijuana over alcohol –
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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