112 Million United States citizens have tried cannabis according to a Gallup poll, which represents approximately 45% of the U.S. population. Speculating why there is a leap in cannabis use, could have someone conclude that the wave of legalization occurring throughout the country and the world may be a contributing factor. An even better reason, would be that the expansion of research on marijuana is providing consumers with a better understanding of the plant and they are finding it is not as harmful as they once thought. There are certainly many testimonials about the help it has provided patients around the world. Are you interested in learning more about the cannabis plant?
Marijuana: it was once a taboo topic, but is no longer.
According to a newly released study from national pollster Gallup, more Americans than ever have tried marijuana.
Gallup has been sporadically asking Americans if they had tried cannabis over the past 48 years. Back in 1969, just 4% of respondents claimed to have tried the drug. By 1999, just a few years after California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis for compassionate use, about a third (34%) of respondents had claimed to have tried marijuana before. However, between the mid-1980s and 2010, this figure was essentially static, give or take a few percent. According to Gallup’s July 2017 survey, 45% of Americans have now tried marijuana, an all-time high. If Gallup’s profile is consistent with that of America, then, utilizing data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, more than 112 million adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives.
Along those same lines, Gallup also asked its respondents if they were current marijuana users. In 2013, just 7% affirmed that they used marijuana on a somewhat regular basis. However, in the 2017 poll, 12%, or roughly one out of eight Americans, admitted to regularly smoking cannabis. Interestingly, this was down 1% from 2016, albeit still well within the standard margins for error in polling.
So, this begets the question: Why are more people experimenting with marijuana than ever before? The answer probably lies with a confluence of factors.
For starters, we’ve witnessed a notable shift in the way the American public views marijuana over the past two decades. Gallup, which has also polled Americans on their views regarding legalization for the past 48 years, has shown that favorability toward legalization has soared recently. After just 25% of the public favored its nationwide legalization in 1995, 60% were in support of such a move in its 2016 survey, an all-time high.
The expansion of medical cannabis and recreational weed in select U.S. states, along with the end of the war on drugs, has also likely encouraged experimentation with the drug. Since 1996, 29 states have legalized medical cannabis, including Ohio and Pennsylvania last year, which did so entirely through the legislative process (i.e., without putting the measure on a ballot for residents to vote on). Eight states have legalized recreational weed since November 2012. Expansion gives Americans a legal means to try pot or, in rarer instances, become a regular legal consumer.
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