12th Graders and Attitudes Toward Legalizing Marijuana
" Table 8-8 lists the proportions of 12th graders in 2015 who favor various legal consequences for marijuana use: making it entirely legal (42%), a minor violation like a parking ticket but not a crime (27%), or a crime (15%). The remaining 15% said they 'don’t know.' It is noteworthy just how variable attitudes about this contentious issue are.
" Asked whether they thought it should be legal to sell marijuana if it were legal to use it, about three in five (64%) said “yes.” However, about 86% of those answering 'yes' (55% of all respondents) would permit sale only to adults. A small minority (9%) favored the sale to anyone, regardless of age, while 23% said that sale should not be legal even if use were made legal, and 13% said they 'don’t know.' Thus, while the majority subscribe to the idea of legal sale, if use is allowed, the great majority agree with the notion that sale to underage people should not be legal.
" Most 12th graders felt that they would be little affected personally by the legalization of either the sale or the use of marijuana. Over half (53%) of the respondents said that they would not use the drug even if it were legal to buy and use, while others indicated that they would use it about as often as they do now (14%) or less often (1%). Only 9% said they would use it more often than they do at present, while 13% thought they would try it. Another 11% said they did not know how their behavior would be affected if marijuana were legalized. Still, this amounts to 22% of all 12th graders, or about one in five, who thought that they would try marijuana, or that their use would increase, if marijuana were legalized."
Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Pages 397-398. Available at