A recently released Gallup poll has revealed that more than half of Americans have tried cannabis. The survey found that 50% of U.S. adults had experimented with marijuana across all gender, age, and education groups. In addition, 17% of those polled reported smoking marijuana – a new high recorded by the pollster but similar to the 16% found in the Gallup Consumption Habits survey a year ago.
The proportion of Americans who smoke cannabis has more than doubled since 2013 when Gallup first asked the question when 7% of respondents said they did. Between 1969 and 1977, the number of Americans who said they had tried cannabis jumped 20 percentage points, from 4% to 24%, while the share rose another nine points, to 33%, by 1985.
These findings indicate that cannabis use in America is on the rise and continues to normalize as people are becoming more comfortable openly talking about their cannabis use than in the past. The survey highlights this trend and provides insight into who uses it across different social demographics.
The Gallup poll findings show that cannabis use in the U.S. has steadily increased over the past few decades, with experimentation and current use from different social demographics rising significantly since 1969. Back then, only 4% of Americans said they had tried marijuana, but this number rose to 24% by 1977 and 33% by 1985. It remained under 40% until 2015, when it rose to 44%, before increasing again in 2021 to 49%.
These figures reflect a broader trend of the U.S. public’s support for cannabis legalization, which has grown from 12% in 1969 to 68% today, according to Gallup. This increase is likely due to more states passing laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana and greater education about the plant’s therapeutic properties.
The rise in experimentation and current use of cannabis, combined with the increased public support for legalization, shows that America is slowly but steadily becoming more accepting of cannabis as a safe and beneficial substance. This shift toward normalization is reflected in the Gallup poll findings that more than half of Americans have tried cannabis.
Current Cannabis Use
The latest Gallup survey showed that current cannabis use is highest among adults aged 18 to 34 – at 29% – and this cohort is more than three times as likely as adults 55 and older (9%) to be current cannabis consumers. The percentage of everyday use among adults aged 35-54 (17%) matches the national average.
In addition, similar percentages of men and women say they consume cannabis, while adults without a college degree are about twice as likely as college graduates to smoke it. Democrats (21%) are nearly twice as likely as Republicans (12%) to smoke cannabis, while independents’ use (17%) falls in between.
These findings suggest that cannabis experimentation and its current use are becoming increasingly widespread across all gender, ages, education groups, and political parties. It appears that more people are feeling comfortable with openly discussing their cannabis use than ever before.
Concerns About Marijuana’s Effects on Teens/Young Adults
Regarding the potential health effects of cannabis, Americans appear to be more concerned about its impact on young adults or teens than regular adult users. The Gallup survey found that 40% of respondents said they were “very” concerned about the effects of marijuana on young adults or teens, while 35% said they were “somewhat” concerned.
Conversely, only 19% of those polled said they were “very” concerned about the effects of marijuana on regular adult users, while 32% said they were “somewhat” concerned. This could be due to the fact that young adults and teens are still in the developmental stages and may be more vulnerable to any potential adverse side effects associated with cannabis use.
Overall, the poll findings indicate that more than half of Americans have tried cannabis and are increasingly comfortable discussing their use. This suggests that cannabis is slowly becoming normalized across different social demographics, with people’s concerns primarily centering on its potential effects on young adults and teens.
The legalization debate continues to rage across the United States as more states pass laws allowing for recreational or medical marijuana. Proponents of legalization cite a multitude of potential benefits, including its economic impact, social effects, and health benefits. For example, legalizing cannabis could help reduce opioid use and provide states with additional tax revenue.
Opponents of legalization, however, worry about the potential dangers of cannabis use, including increased impaired driving incidents and addiction rates. In addition, some fear that legalizing recreational marijuana could lead to greater accessibility for teens or young adults who are still in their developmental stages.
The Gallup survey findings show that more than half of Americans have tried cannabis, indicating that the public’s opinion on legalization is shifting. As people become more comfortable discussing their cannabis use and more states pass laws legalizing it, the debate around marijuana will continue as both sides make their cases for and against legalization.
Ultimately, it will be up to lawmakers to weigh the pros and cons of marijuana legislation and make decisions that are in the best interests of their constituents. In the meantime, the fact that over half of Americans have tried cannabis is a testament to its growing normalization and continued public acceptance.
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