A growing percentage of U.S. adults are using marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll on marijuana use.
At this time, approximately 1 in every 8 adults in the U.S. is smoking marijuana. That’s about 13 percent, and it’s almost double the number who answered in similarly in the affirmative just three years ago. In 2013, it was 7 percent of U.S. adults who reported being current marijuana users.
Overall, 43 percent of Americans say they have tried marijuana at some point, though the percentage of experimentation and regular use varied by respondents’ religion and age.
This is, of course, despite the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. As it now stands, four states have legalized the drug for recreational purposes and half have some variation of medicinal marijuana law on the books.
Perhaps the news of increased marijuana use isn’t all that surprising, given that we now live in a world where both U.S. presidential candidates say they support laws that make marijuana available for medicinal use. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have said they will defer to states for purposes of policy-making on the issues of both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.
But it’s sort of a chicken-or-the-egg issue: Are marijuana users more likely to avail themselves of marijuana now that it’s legal or are state lawmakers more willing to change marijuana policy because an increasing number of Americans now use the drug?
Part of it almost certainly has to do with the fact that as marijuana policy has loosened, more research on the drug has given credence to claims of its legitimacy as a form of medicine.
And it does seem that at least in Western states, which have been more progressive on the issue and have reduced restrictions on marijuana, are substantially more likely to have residents who cop to smoking marijuana than those in other parts of the country. Surveys have indicated that most Americans have supported legalization of marijuana since 2013.
At this time, approximately 4 in 10 (43 percent) adults say they have tried marijuana at some point in their lives. That’s a slight uptick from the 38 percent in 2013. Compare that to 1969, when 4 percent of adults admitted trying the drug.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group most likely to experiment with the drug were young adults.
One in five adults under age 30 admit to trying it, which is almost double the rate that was noted in older adults. Among weekly church attendants. only 2 percent admitted to having ever tried it. Of those who attend church less frequently, only 7 percent admit to trying it. Among those who seldom or never attend religious services, that figure rises to 14 percent.
It should be noted that neither income nor education seemed to have much impact on whether a person was more likely or not to try the drug. Those who live in homes with an income of $30,000 or less were slightly more likely to report they currently use it, but not much.
As it now stands, we have nine states slated to vote this fall on whether to approve the recreational use and sale of marijuana. That means 2016 is likely to mark a significant legal shift. It would mean a total of nine states (up from four) could allow recreational use while another four would open the doors to medicinal use of the drug.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
One in Eight U.S. Adults Say They Smoke Marijuana, August 8, 2016, Gallup
More Blog Entries:
Survey: Republican Support for Marijuana Grows, August 6, 2016, California Marijuana Lawyer Blog