The most recent Gallup poll reveals that at least 45 percent of U.S. adults say they have tried marijuana—at least once in their lives.
That’s the highest percentage in the history of the yearly poll, which started in 1969, Gallup said.
When last year’s poll was conducted, 43 percent of Americans said they’d tried pot at least once.
There has also been a rise in the percentage of Americans who currently smoke weed. This year, in a separate question, Gallup found that 12 percent of Americans said they smoke weed now —that’s one in eight people.
This percentage has nearly doubled since Gallup first asked that question in 2013. Then it was seven percent.
Clearly the rising trend toward legalization—medical and recreational—parallels the rising number of Americans who’ve tried, and are regularly smoking, cannabis.
“Legalization may confer a greater societal acceptance of marijuana,” Gallup noted.
It also confers fewer arrests and less jail terms for possession.
Current marijuana usage, according to the poll, trends downward the older one gets, although age patterns differ when looking at lifetime usage.
For example, those in the 30-to-49 age range (51 percent) are most likely to have tried weed, followed closely by the 50 to 64 (49 percent) group, which suggests that cannabis is more popular among Gen X and baby boomers than it is among Millennials.
Unfortunately, from a health standpoint, although marijuana usage is at an all time high in the U.S., cigarette smoking is still a big thing (17 percent).
The thinking is, however, that when more states legalize pot, regular usage could rise in tandem with acceptance and cigarette smoking may decline.
Gallup went out on a limb and opined that embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s hopes to prosecute state-level marijuana crimes may prove to be a hindrance, but are unlikely to stop this multibillion-dollar industry anytime soon.
The poll findings, based on interviews with 1,021 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states, took place July 5 – 9, 2017.