[Non-Fiction] College smoker stereotype busted… but who ever believed in it?


The Wonkblog post is absolutely ridiculous.

When the drug exploded onto the American scene in the 1970s, the first adopters were drawn heavily from the college-educated middle class. But in more recent years, the marijuana market has become more economically downscale .

The claim is simply unsupported. The graph they post says the opposite: college-graduate use is increasing, not decreasing. Check out the graph of the last decade or so on their blog post.

As most know, the incarceration factor of marijuana falls on the lower classes primarily. So why did this myth start?

Why then is the modal cultural image of pot that of hipster professionals clucking over arrays of $500/ounce sinsemilla blends at upscale dispensaries in San Francisco or Boulder, rather than, say, that of a gas station attendant who smokes low-cost weed several times a day?

The answer may be that journalists, pundits, elected officials and policy analysts, like all human beings, have a tendency to overestimate the representativeness of their own experience. The college-educated chattering classes portray and discuss the world they know, which in fact is a small slice of the U.S. marijuana scene.

The Washington Post isn’t going to say it, so I will:

This is a great example of how divorced the political class is from the rest of the population.

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