The stats are in, and they’re in favor of cannabis. According to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, more Americans say they smoke or otherwise consume cannabis – a federally illegal substance – than smoke 100% legal, previously popular tobacco cigarettes. This shows that many people are finally choosing the wiser, safer option of good green herbs over legal but dangerous past favorites like cigarettes, and we couldn’t be happier.
Weed Gains Popularity
According to recently released data from Gallup, more Americans now openly admit that they smoke cannabis or consume edibles infused with the herbs than say they’ve smoked cigarettes in one week. The poll also noted cannabis consumption is likely to continue rising even more in the years to come. This makes sense with the increased attention and research on cannabis as well as the increase in legalization across the country.
Despite the fact tobacco is still completely legal across the nation and possession of cannabis is still federally illegal and may result in jail time in some states, a large number of people would rather risk jail time for cannabis than the dangers of tobacco for a quick cig. If that alone doesn’t tell you the popularity of weed over cigarettes, we don’t know what will.
Over the past few decades, trends in cannabis and tobacco usage have been shifting in this direction as more states have begun to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes while public health campaigns and other government preventative measures have targeted cigarettes.
A record 16 percent of Americans say they now consume cannabis, according to data from a July survey, while just 11 percent said they had smoked cigarettes in the previous week, according to a new analysis by CNN.
That’s not all, either. Gallup asked about the use of cannabis edibles for the first time this year as well and 14% of respondents said they do. In other words, more people have smoked or otherwise consumed weed, which is prohibited under federal law, in the last week than smoked cigarettes, which are permitted.
When Gallup initially questioned people about cannabis use in 2013, only 7% reported actively smoking weed. At that time, smoking rates for cigarettes were at around 20%, which was still lower than the peak of 45% seen in the middle of the 1950s.
Weed VS Alcohol
Even though it is commonly acknowledged alcohol has a host of negative consequences, statistics reveal it is still the most popular recreational substance in the U.S.
In the last week, 45% of respondents claimed to have drunk alcohol while 67% admitted to using it occasionally.
According to Gallup survey results released this month, more than twice as many Americans believe cannabis has a favorable impact on its users and society at large than they do alcohol.
This aligns with findings of another survey which revealed more Americans believed switching to cannabis and drinking less alcohol would be beneficial rather than detrimental.
Alcohol usage among American adults is much higher than the use of either marijuana or cigarettes. “Cigarette use is now less than a fourth of what it was in the 1950s, whereas alcohol consumption has stayed largely stable throughout the years,” Gallup stated in a new report.
Weed Use Going Forward
Currently, regular weed use among Americans is slightly more than that of cigarettes, but this tendency has been rising for several decades.
According to senior scientist Frank Newport of Gallup, there is some uncertainty about cannabis use’s future, but it is more likely we’ll see an increase in cannabis usage rather than a decrease.
Based on observable usage trends, the expansion of the legalization movement in American states, rising public support for ending prohibition, and the common perception that cannabis is less hazardous, an increase in cannabis use isn’t a far-fetched conclusion.
According to Newport, Americans realize the negative effects of smoking, and smoking has dramatically decreased over the previous 50 years. This trend may be expected to continue. “Americans are less certain about the effects of using cannabis, and how much they use it in the future will rely in part on how quickly the risks associated with it are recognized, as well as how rapidly state laws governing its legality are changing,” Newport continued.
The fact that young people are noticeably more likely to report using weed than tobacco is another clue the trend is likely to continue. Only 8% of people under 35 reported using cigarettes in the previous week, compared to 30% of cannabis smokers in that age group.
Legalizing cannabis does seem to be bringing in more adult users in states with regulated markets. That’s corroborated in part by the fact that states like Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts have had tax seasons in which income from cannabis sales has eclipsed that from alcoholic beverages. So it is a very real possibility that as the trend toward cannabis continues, it may even surpass alcohol use at some point.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!