The Mary Jane Mindset: Teenagers and Marijuana

The Weed Next Door

Thursday, May 09, 2013


As 17-year-old Radio Rookie Temitayo Fagbenle puts it, "Once you reach high school, weed is a part of your life." Even if you don't smoke, marijuana is at parties, the corners and parks near schools, and sometimes in school stairwells.

In recent years, research shows fewer and fewer teenagers see using pot as risky. And opponents of the drug blame the changing attitudes at least partly on the rise of legal, medical marijuana. 

Two Radio Rookies, Temitayo and Gemma Weiner, spoke with nearly three dozen high school students who smoke weed to learn more about what they call 'the Mary Jane mindset' among two quite different sets of New York City teenagers. Gemma attends private school. She sat down with one friend who can smoke at home, talks openly about marijuana with her parents, and recently got $60 worth, or 3.5 grams, of weed delivered directly to her doorstep. 

Meanwhile, students at Temitayo's public school tend to buy smaller amounts, often going "five-five," when each teen puts in five dollars for a dime bag. That's just one of the many differences between Gemma and Temitayo's two worlds when it comes to buying and using marijuana.  

Listen to their story to get an inside look at the current teenager culture of marijuana, and hear Gemma and Temitayo's takeaway on what parents should think about if they find a joint in their kid's bedroom.


Gemma Weiner and Temitayo Fagbenle


More in:

Comments [22]

bLAZINEVERYDAy from jesus land of north pole hippies

I m a little boy and im scared of the dammage marijuana will do to me. I did it once 5 minitues ago actully and i think im going to dies really i cant even right write. I eat a browny and smoked a thong out of a bong and im getting really low not high just kidding im not a boy im a hippo and just took a rip of some shatter wax with my friends the giraffe and donkey-horse we smoke every second of our waking exsistence and my friends can to rocket science and sometimes they eat there poop

Feb. 28 2014 04:14 PM
maggie from Mama from Brooklyn

LISTEN....we have an opppprtunity to hear what teens are saying. Im a child of the 70s and it doesnt sound like things are much different. great article to LISTEN to with your teens! Parents NOT schools or cops are the ones to talk with their kids about drugs and how they manage their time, life and struggles as teens. These kids are telling us they are bored, stressed escaping life.

This is a great ice breaker for that "talk about drugs youve been thinking about having".

May. 18 2013 06:08 AM
jf from reality

Cannabis CURES cancer! Kills cancer cells. Treats about 400 other diseases.

May. 15 2013 09:48 AM
M mom from Northern NJ

What left me puzzled AND curious was the ending of the story....."it's not only finding the weed in our kids room that's important but what are the other things that are going on." Well, what are those other things he hinted at? I am one of those mothers who is open about what my 17 year old is doing and yes, he does smoke pot. No matter what statistic I give him or fearful story I tell him, he doesn't listen or want to stop. I am frighten for his future and this generation.

May. 09 2013 11:24 PM
Lily from East Hampton

Amazing Piece. I can say that everything being said here affects my daily life.

May. 09 2013 10:57 PM
John A

I don't doubt that this is accurate.
That this can be aired without any apparent action for society to correct - that's what is upsetting. Or isn't WNYC a contributing member of society?

May. 09 2013 06:10 PM
Elizabeth from North Jersey

Children shouldn't drink, use drugs, or smoke tobacco while their bodies are still forming. Pot is probably equally as bad for children as alcohol is, but it isn't WORSE than alcohol or tobacco. Don't get in a panic about marijuana as if it's a unique threat to children.

May. 09 2013 04:55 PM
Mariel from NY

I can't believe the conversation hasn't evolved since I was in school. That was 1970. Depressing.

May. 09 2013 03:12 PM


May. 09 2013 01:40 PM
EP from NYC

I listened to this segment this morning and I think it's important to not lose sight of the fact that these are teenagers being interviewed by their peers - I suspect many of them are misrepresenting their level of use to sound cool to their friends. I was the token stoner in high school and smoking pot before, during, AND after school would have simply been too much!

Two blunts (as that one kid said he smoked after school every day) equates to roughly $25 of weed if you're being conservative! How much to these kids get in allowance!?

May. 09 2013 01:34 PM

Anyone who hasn't tried it and is commenting negatively on it should shut up. You haven't tried it, so you don't really know what it does, the sensation is hard to explain it's not like heroin. Also those who have tried it and are commenting negatively then it's just not for you. For some people it helps with depression, anxiety, and a lot of other medical problems.

May. 09 2013 11:56 AM
Miscellaneous from Brooklyn

Kudos for all comments 1-9.

It is a shame when we bring up a generation of children who think that using a mind-altering substance all day every day is fine. Would we treat the equivalent use of alcohol the same way? Who will be the sober, responsible adults of the future.

When I was in high school, there were drugs available and I even saw students being arrested in the school cafeteria, but the use of drugs is a choice and if we can't teach our young people to choose NOT to use these substances, I despair for the future of this country. I had the presence of mind not to use (or even try) any drugs and my mind is clearer for it.

Unfortunately, at least while we sober adults are in charge, we will be around to clean up the messes (car accidents, bar brawls, etc.) caused by intoxicated individuals. When we're gone, they're going to have a BIG problem. Would you want the surgeon patching you up after you've had a drug-related car accident to be high? I think not.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: The use or non-use of drugs is a CHOICE. The users will be losers.

May. 09 2013 11:07 AM
District 1 Parent. from nyc

Just because some of the kids being interviewed didn't speak with 'gramatical' correctness doesn't mean they're unintelligent, or that their commentary is invalid. To dismiss them, and say "that our world is doomed," is completely hypocritical.

The end message was that our public system is failing students, the uptown kids smoke more because they have lower ambition, are not being intellectually challenged, and are probably bored. For THEM, smoking weed CAN equate failure.

This is blatantly a SOCIO-ECONOMIC piece (LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE IN ARRESTS). Anyone commenting on the difference in grammar probably considers ebonics as legitimate vernacular....

to john from office- it's generation OF idiots, not 'on idiots.'

My kids are about to enter high school. I was going to let the school handle the drug talk, but now I'm going to.

Clearly, there IS 'Mary Jane Mindset."
We can take it, leave it, or try and change it.

May. 09 2013 11:06 AM

This really worries me. A growing body of neurological research reveals links between marijuana use and mental illness. Marijuana can cause short-term psychotic symptoms, and its use may also trigger severe mental illness—such as schizophrenia or bipolar—in biologically at-risk individuals and especially teens. Symptoms of psychosis may be transient, or set-off a biological chain reaction resulting in lifelong mental illness. Studies show that marijuana use can interfere with the development of the adolescent brain, significantly increasing the likelihood of developing a mental illness over their lifetime.

Is it true that many people will smoke marijuana and never suffer negative side effects? Yes. But to classify marijuana as a harmless drug discounts all evidence pointing to the contrary. And for those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies when pot seemed innocuous, the high potency of the cannabis available today poses an increased risk.

With mental illness a major topic in mainstream media right now, it is perplexing to me why the connection between drug use and serious psychiatric disease is not discussed more openly. I'm not demonizing pot, but its non-medical use can bring unintended long-term consequences.

May. 09 2013 10:25 AM
Really about NYC Parents

One more benefit of raising your kids with nannies or just bailing on your family altogether. This is not a story about teens in NYC -- it's about teens in NYC who are not taken care of. They can barely speak! But I blame the parents, not the schools.

May. 09 2013 09:52 AM
EK from NYC

Should be required listening for every NYC (US?) parent of a high school student and for every high school student and then they should talk about it! The reporters did a wonderful job of exploring and explaining. Yes it's frightening that this is what so many kids are doing - BUT with the information we can all work together to help them avoid ruining their lives. Thank you wnyc AND Radio Rookies.

May. 09 2013 09:39 AM

One of the most intelligent and well done pieces on marijuana I've ever heard -- congratulations to the rookie reporters.

Those who disliked the story have their heads in the sand. You can like this situation, you can hate it, you can moan and groan, but this is what real teenagers are going through in their real lives. I especially hope this story is taken seriously by all those parents who right now are saying, "But MY child would NEVER do that." Yes they would, yes they have, and (maybe) yes they are.

May. 09 2013 08:56 AM
meghan from ann arbor

what i took from this is nothing to do with kids smoking weed (nothing new there) but how entirely the piece captures the pervasiveness of race and wealth inequality. now that's a "shame."

May. 09 2013 08:55 AM
Franci L from NYC

Wow, our future leaders. Or maybe our future dependents on public assistance. Scary and sad.

May. 09 2013 08:47 AM

Wow, this world is doomed if these kids are our future leaders. Great parenting there.

May. 09 2013 08:46 AM

the more weed you buy, the less money you have.

the more weed a kid smokes, the more they mumble.

could barely understand some of this -- another lesson (yawn) learned.

May. 09 2013 08:46 AM
john from office

The intellect level shown in this segment is so low, we are raising a generation on idiots. It is a shame.

May. 09 2013 08:44 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by