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Attitudes before and after the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana among Undergraduate Students in Nevada
AdvisorEvans, William P.
Human Development and Family Studies
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Increased legalization of recreational marijuana across the U.S. is a relevant phenomenoninfluencing society. Emerging adults are greatly affected by retail marijuana, and theirperceptions, as well as use behavior, are likely to change with legalization. In Nevada,medical marijuana has been legal since 2000, and recreational marijuana was legalized in2017. The outcome of recreational marijuana policies in Nevada may be unclear for sometime and studying marijuana-related trends and behavioral shifts is important for oursociety’s well-being. This paper provides information on marijuana legalization andexamines emerging adults’ perceptions and use behavior post recreational marijuanalegalization. A web-based survey was administered to 440 students at a large, publicuniversity in Nevada to study potential attitudinal shifts among this population postlegalization. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequencies, crosstabs, aswell as paired sample t-tests and Chi-squares to compare respondents. The findings ofthis study suggest that students’ attitudes and use behavior changed post legalization, andthat individuals were likely to be impacted by legalization. Results showed thatparticipants and their peers were more in favor of marijuana use, and that most studentsused post legalization, with individuals who associated use with lower risks using more.Female participants evinced more change than male participants due to legalization.These findings contribute to the body of research on legalization and point to theimportance of further research on marijuana perceptions and use behavior in differentcontexts.Keywords: recreational marijuana, marijuana attitudes, marijuana use,bioecological model, social cognitive theory, emerging adults