Nearly half of all U.S. adults say they’ve tried cannabis at least once, according to the findings in a new Gallup poll.
A new poll from Gallup has found that 45 percent of American adults have tried cannabis at least once in their lives. The Gallup Organization started asking Americans about their cannabis consumption habits in 1969. At that time, just 4 percent admitted to trying marijuana at some point in their lives.
In this most recent poll, those between the ages of 30 to 49 years were found to have the highest past marijuana usage rates (51 percent), although the rate among adults between 50 to 64 years followed close behind (49 percent).
“This suggests that marijuana was more popular among Generation X and baby boomers, who probably tried it when they were younger, than it is among millennials,” the Gallup report reads.
The rise in rates of cannabis use between 1969 and 2017 parallels the growing support for ending prohibition. In 1969, just 12 percent said they favored marijuana legalization. Last year, Gallup found that 60 percent of adults reportedly favor legalizing adult use marijuana, a record high. A separate survey found support for legalization is even building in Texas, a state historically opposed to loosening of cannabis laws.
Marijuana remains federally prohibited under federal law, but eight U.S. states have so far passed their own laws allowing the use and possession of recreational marijuana, and several more are progressing toward similar policy changes. Twenty-nine U.S. states allow medical marijuana use.
A separate question in the poll found that one in eight Americans (12 percent) currently smoke marijuana, up from 7 percent four years ago. When taking into consideration the current adult population in the U.S., 12 percent would equate to over 20 million people.
More men currently smoke cannabis (13 percent), compared to women (7 percent). Adults between the ages of 18 to 29 years were found to be the highest rate of marijuana smokers (18 percent). The poll did not inquire about the consumption habits of other cannabis products.
Despite recent efforts by the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to interfere with states that have passed and implemented their own cannabis laws, market research reports predict that marijuana legalization will continue to spread throughout the U.S., with one even suggesting it will reach all 50 states by 2021. The number of people that have tried or currently use cannabis is likely to increase accordingly.
“Smoking [cannabis] is still not as prevalent as cigarette smoking in the U.S., at 17%, but current marijuana usage is about as high as it has been. If more states legalize the drug, regular usage – or at least experimenting with marijuana – could rise. Legality may confer a certain societal acceptance of the drug,” the poll’s report reads.
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,021 adults aged 18 and over living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. using telephone interviews July 5-9. Download the poll’s full report here.