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Thursday, July 23, 2015

44 Percent of Adults Have Used Marijuana

In 1969, less than two years after the infamous “Summer of Love,” Gallup began asking Americans the question: "Have you ever tried marijuana?" At the time, only 4 percent of Americans answered yes to the question. Those answering yes to having used the drug in the most recent Gallup poll was 44 percent of adults, a six percent increase from the previous year's poll. More men (47 percent) than women (35 percent) reported having ever tried marijuana.

It probably comes as little surprise that the country's collective view of the drug is changing, a drug which has been prohibited in one form or another for almost a century. With medical marijuana programs in 23 states (as well as D.C.) and recreational legalization laws in four states, many expect that more states will adopt more relaxed laws the next time the country heads for the polls.

Gallup also asked Americans adults if they are currently smoking marijuana. Just over one in 10 Americans (11%) reported smoking, up from 7% in 2013. Among men, 13 percent said they currently smoke marijuana, compared to 6 percent of women.

The Gallup poll findings originate from telephone interviews conducted July 8-12, 2015, with a random sample of 1,009 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found teenage marijuana use on the rise. While it has not been proven that relaxed marijuana laws account for the rise, lawmakers and public health officials should be cognizant of the trend, and work to mitigate teenage exposure to the drug.

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