Attitudes Toward Cannabis Use Legalization and Openness to Legal Use Among Young Partygoers in Norway


Objective:

The purpose of this study was to examine attitudes toward legalization of cannabis use and openness to legal use among Norwegian partygoers.


Method:

We examined a combined sample (N = 4,790; 46.2% female) of young partygoers (M age = 23.7, SD = 7.3) from three Norwegian studies on substance use in various settings: music festivals (n = 1,312), nightlife (n = 2,005), and high school graduation (n = 1,473). Through onsite surveys, the participants were asked if they thought cannabis use should be legal in Norway and whether they themselves would use the drug if legalized. These responses (yes/no/don’t know) were examined in relation to participants’ characteristics and cannabis use history using summary statistics and multinomial regression models.


Results:

Although 46.1% of participants reported having used cannabis at least once, only 1/3 (32.6%) favored legalization and 1/4 (25.6%) stated they would themselves use cannabis if legalized. Yet, even among never-users, we observed non-opposition to legalization (16.4% in favor; 14.9% don’t know) and openness to legal use (8.2% would use; 12.4% don’t know). Histories of cannabis, tobacco, or any other drug use, sex (male), and age younger than 21 years (vs. 30 or older) were consistently associated with affirmative responses to both questions. Openness to legal use was strongly associated with favorable legalization attitudes and age younger than 21, even after accounting for lifetime cannabis use history.


Conclusions:

Favoring cannabis legalization and openness to legal use were relatively low in this sample of young Norwegian partygoers. Yet, prevalence of cannabis use may increase after legalization among its supporters and among those younger than 21, especially if “don’t know” responses are considered.

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