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1 in 8 American Adults Use Marijuana, New Poll Finds

A new Gallup poll has found that nearly 33 million American adults currently use marijuana.

More than 33 million (1 in 8) adults in the United States currently use marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll. That works out to about 13 percent of Americans being current marijuana users, up from 7 percent in 2013, and marks a nearly 100 percent jump in cannabis use over the past three years.

The poll also found that 43 percent of Americans reported that have tried marijuana at least once. Only 4 percent of Americans said they tried marijuana in 1969.

The surge in marijuana use over recent years is likely related to a combination of an overall shift in social attitudes regarding cannabis use and expanding marijuana legalization. Support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. is at an all time high, with 61 percent of American adults favoring legalization in a recent survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found that 89 percent of registered voters in the U.S. are in approval of medical marijuana legislation.

Since 2013, the number of states that have legalized adult use marijuana jumped from two — Colorado and Washington – to four — Oregon and Alaska. Today more than 86 percent of Americans live in states that allow some degree of legal marijuana use, according to a report published by the ArcView Group earlier this year.

“States’ willingness to legalize marijuana could be a reason for the uptick in the percentage of Americans who say they smoke marijuana, regardless of whether it is legal in their particular state,” the poll’s report reads.

Gallup also found that residents in the West, where the four states that have legalized adult use marijuana are located, are significantly more likely to respond that they currently smoke marijuana than elsewhere throughout the U.S.

Results of the survey indicate that age and religiosity are key determinants of marijuana use. Cannabis use was found to be currently more popular among young adults, as 19 percent of adults under the age of 30 responded that were active users. Adults who attend church, however, are less likely to use marijuana. Just 2 percent of weekly churchgoers and 7 percent of nearly weekly churchgoers responded they currently use cannabis, compared to 14 percent of users who say they seldom or never attend church service. Income and education levels were not strongly related to a likelihood of trying marijuana.

Results of the Gallup poll show similar cannabis use trends as the findings in a 2015 study published in JAMA Psychiatry, which showed that use in the U.S. doubled in the 10 years between 2001-02 and 2012-13. Additionally, the latest World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime concluded that use and acceptance of cannabis are rising globally.

The Gallup poll involved a random sample of 1,023 American adults, aged 18 and older, throughout all 50 U.S. states and in Washington D.C.. The telephone interviews were conducted between July 13 and 17. You can read the entire Gallup poll report here.

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