Richmond & The New High Times


It’s no secret that America has a complicated history with mind-altering substances, but recent trends suggest that the nation may be turning over a new leaf, both figuratively and literally. According to the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future study, the use of cannabis and psychedelic drugs among U.S. adults reached an all-time high last year.

The Sky-High Stats

Before you lose them in a haze, here are the facts you should remember:

  • 44% of young adults aged 19–30 and 28% of adults aged 35–50 reported using marijuana in the past 12 months.
  • Over 11% of young adults said they used cannabis on at least 20 of the prior 30 days, a figure that’s doubled in a decade.
  • About 8% of young adults reported using psychedelic drugs like MDMA and psilocybin in the past year, more than twice the rate from 2012.

Not Just a West Coast Phenomenon

While the tech titans in Silicon Valley have been making headlines for their psychedelic preferences, the rise in cannabis use isn’t confined to the Golden State or to tech industry workplaces. The number of American workers testing positive for marijuana hit a 25-year record last year, according to an annual survey by Quest Diagnostics.

The Federal Shift

The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is pushing for a considerable change. They’re urging the Drug Enforcement Administration to move cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This would categorize it along with drugs like ketamine and testosterone, considered to have “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.”

However, advocates say this is not enough. Justin Strekal, a prominent cannabis advocate, argues that, “Rescheduling cannabis from 1 to 3 does not end criminalization; it just rebrands it.”

The Richmond Perspective

For a state like Virginia, which has legalized marijuana for adult use but not for sale, this national trend and the changing federal stance could further ignite the conversation around cannabis decriminalization and its role in medical treatments. It could even influence state legislation and industrial growth in Richmond and surrounding areas but our current governor isn’t interested in changing anything anytime soon.

A Cautionary Note

As we in Richmond navigate these changing waters, it’s essential to remember that these substances still come with risks. While a growing body of research suggests that controlled usage of cannabis and psychedelics can benefit mental health, experts warn of their potential downsides.

In Conclusion

The momentum for a different kind of “high” society is building in the United States, and Virginia, with its evolving legal landscape, is no exception. It’s a topic worthy of ongoing discussion, especially as Americans — Richmonders included — become more open to incorporating these substances into their lives for recreational and medical purposes.

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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