Over 45% people under 30 want cannabis to be legal; 25% want alcohol banned

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A new survey has revealed that nearly half of people under 30 want cannabis to be made legal while nearly quarter of the people surveyed want alcohol to be illegal.

The survey carried out by Student Money Saver (SMS) also found that 50.9 per cent of people under 30 want tobacco to be declared illegal as well.

The survey, which aimed to look at drug and alcohol use amongst people under 30, saw participation from over 1000 people. It found that there is an increased use of “legal” highs soon to be legislated against, such as nitrus oxide and salvia.

When asked which drugs have they tried, 93.5 per cent said they had tried alcohol; 58.8 per cent had tried tobacco; 45.5 per cent cannabis; 20.2 per cent tried Nitrus Oxide (laughing gas); 19.6 per cent Ecstacy or MDM; 13.7 per cent cocaine; 12.4 per cent “Legal” highs (e.g. MCat, Salvia or Spice; and 9.2 per cent had tried prescription drugs for recreational use. People had also tried speed, ketamine, study drugs, LSD, Heroin among others.

The survey report notes that Nitrus Oxide has become extremely popular, with 1 in 5 people having tried it recreationally. Legal highs were also more popular than many traditional drugs, especially amongst those towards the younger end of the spectrum.

The study authors note that there is increased evidence that young people are taking into account the harm that drugs can do, especially when considering which drugs should be legal. This is evident from the survey as more and more people believe that alcohol and tobacco should be made illegal. Nearly half of those under thirty thought that cannabis should be legalised.

When asked why they answered the way they did, a common response was: “Making them illegal doesn’t stop people using them and increases harm” – anonymous 18-19 year old.

“Alcohol and tobacco already are, and they are proven to do more damage physiologically than cannabis so there is no reason not to legalise it.” – anonymous 22-25 year old.

“Making drugs legal would stop illegal drug trafficking. Plus the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal is just hypocritical. They are bad if not worse.” – Anonymous 18-19 year old.

The survey also asked questions about whether young people felt safe buying drugs and whether they perceived current legal highs to be safer than illegal drugs. Most people who used drugs did not feel safe buying drugs from drug dealers, though most thought illegal highs were more unsafe than illegal drugs. Young people continue to buy drugs from usual sources, with most buying from a friend or a dealer rather than arranging drug deals over the internet.

Of those who had taken drugs, most of them got it through a dealer or a friend. Only 5.1 per cent had bought drugs over the internet, and most “other” responses were people who had tried drugs but never bought them, or who had bought drugs only whilst on holiday in Amsterdam from a licensed cafe.

Almost 16 per cent said they had used drugs because of peer pressure.

“This survey supports the evidence that the young’s interest in trying drugs is lessening, including alcohol. At the same time it shows that rather than a liberal “anything goes” attitude towards drug policy, young people are listening to the evidence and want policies based on it.” notes the survey report.

“They are less likely to cite “tradition” as a reason for wanting alcohol to remain legal, and 25 per cent of people under 30 actually want it to be made illegal, and over half of people now think cannabis should be legal.