According to a study at the University of Alberta, a variety of middle-class people are making a conscious but careful choice of using marijuana to improve their leisure activities.
A qualitative study of 41 Canadians surveyed in 2005-06 by University of Alberta researchers revealed that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ marijuana user, but that people of all ages are selectively lighting up the drug as a way to improve activities ranging from watching television and playing sports to having sex, painting, or writing.
“For some of the participants, marijuana enhanced their ability to relax by taking their minds off daily stresses and pressures. Others found it helpful in focusing on the activity at hand,” said Geraint Osborne, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose, and one of the study’s authors.
It was found by the study that the participants considered themselves responsible users of the drug, defined by moderate use in an appropriate social setting and not allowing it to cause harm to others.
The study recommended: “The Canadian government has never provided a valid reason for the criminalization of marijuana,” said Osborne. “This study indicates that people who use marijuana are no more a criminal threat to society than are alcohol and cigarette users. Legalization and government regulation of the drug would free up resources that could be devoted to tackling other crime, and could undermine organized crime networks that depend on marijuana, while generating taxes to fund drug education programs, which are more effective in reducing substance abuse,” Osborne added.
The study was published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.
University of Alberta (2008, May 15)