The Path to Normalization
ACCESS - PERCEPTION OF HARM - VISIBILITY
Legalization and three factor that come with it - increased “access” to marijuana, reduced “perception of harm” and increased “visibility” - change the calculus of drug use. The decision to use drugs goes from a small group or one-on-one decision, like ”who knows where to score some weed; how are we going to get there, etc.” to mass media encouragement and large group decision-making to use pot. This decision is bolstered by promised benefits found in the feature/benefit language of advertising as well as quick and easy ways to purchase. A low perception of harm further reinforces the decision to use. General visibility - advertising/promotion as well as seeing others consume in public, seeing marijuana plants grow and seeing the drug in a friends’ homes all “normalize” pot and make the decision to use comfortable.
Our minds naturally and powerfully say “illegal-bad, legal-good” about all things. Marijuana is no exception. Try arguing with a teen on this point and see how powerfully they believe.