If you assumed college-aged adults are leading the pack in marijuana use, you’d be incorrect. The largest consumers of marijuana are your city’s professionals, corporate workers, ganja-puffing teachers, TV execs and businessmen are going about their daily routines while under the influence.
“I started realizing a lot of my family smokes weed, and they’re all very successful adults,” said “Jake,” a TV writer in Midtown Manhattan and small-business owner who regularly tokes up. “I feel a lot more comfortable being a smoker now that it’s less enforced.” He said.
In 2011, the NYPD busted 50,000 people for lighting up in the five boroughs. By 2015, that number had dropped by 68 percent, to just 16,000. During the same time, recreational pot use was legalized in eight states, and a law allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes passed in many other states. Today’s pot users say they’re no head cases.
“There’s a big misconception that people that smoke are burnouts and sluggish,” said “Zach,” a marketing manager at a major television station. “I’ve got a spring in my step. I’m always moving. I’m very high energy,” insisted the man, who has been smoking weed for the better part of 20 years.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in August, the number of American adults using marijuana has nearly doubled in the past three years- In 2013, 7 percent said they take hits. In 2016, that number was up to 13 percent.
“I work anywhere between 60 to 80 hours a week, and I also smoke weed every day, and I’m educated, and I do a good job,’’ Zach said. “It’s not like I’m sitting on my butt all day in my sweats, smoking and eating Doritos and playing video games.” Zach buys about an ounce of pot every three weeks, spending about $400 a month on his illicit stash. He said he smokes to help him sleep and relax, and even claims it improves his gym routine.
America’s love affair with pot goes back centuries. In 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp, which was used as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland.
By the late 19th century, pot was a popular medicine sold openly in pharmacies. In the 1930s, when the nation’s alcohol ban was being overturned and the federal Department of Prohibition’s top guy, Harry Anslinger, shifted his attention, according to Johann Hari’s best-selling book “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.”
Hari writes that police departments across the nation had hired their staffs to enforce the alcohol ban at the height of the Great Depression. Once the ban was lifted, they wouldn’t need so many men. So to prevent the officers from having to be laid off, Anslinger set his targets on marijuana, Hari says.
Anslinger, the future first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, started a massive anti-marijuana campaign to turn Americans against the “demon weed,” which was blamed for causing “delirious rage” and “inevitable insanity.” Anslinger needed evidence and wrote to the 30 leading scientists on the subject asking whether marijuana was dangerous; 29 wrote back saying it wasn’t, Harl said.
In October, a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans support marijuana use which is the highest number in 47 years.