Citizens Trying Marijuana Increases in the United States
Cannabis is currently more widely accepted in North America than it has been in the last hundred years. Multiple US states allow medical or recreational consumption and Canada is even slated to legalize on a national level next July. People are starting to see the medicinal and therapeutic value of cannabis more than ever, and the plant is more readily, and legally available than it ever has been before in the US. Marijuana is more mainstream now. The culture is represented more fairly across all media. The lazy stoner stereotype is being replaced with the reality that people who smoke cannabis are just like everyone else. The research of cannabis is now talked about in mainstream media. You can find weed articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post almost every week. This move out of the shadows and into the light has given a whole new light to how the public views cannabis use and trying it for the first time.
Because of the new abundance of knowledge and legality of cannabis, more and more people are trying it. There’s been an increase in not only availability, but also in proper education. The days of Reefer Madness are starting to fade, and a new era of evidence-based cannabis culture is emerging. And there’s research to show this new trend in cannabis acceptance.
The Yahoo News/Marist Poll Survey
A recent poll conducted by Yahoo News and the Marist Poll surveyed a group of 1,122 adults living in the United States regarding their cannabis use. Conducted from March 1st through 7th 2017 by phone, the participants were asked a variety of questions on their opinion and personal use of cannabis. The population of each area was represented in proportion in the survey.
What the survey found is that 52% of adults living in the United States have used cannabis at some point in their lives. In addition 44% of those who have tried it still use it. The survey officially lists 22% of adults in the United States as cannabis users. That’s almost 55 million people! Out of that number, 63% use cannabis regularly. That makes 14% of the total population smoking all the time!
Out of those who use it 94% approve legalization, and those who use it frequently support legalization at a whopping 98%. These numbers show a huge support for weed legalization. It’s also anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of cannabis as medicine. People are noticing the benefits and responding with whole-hearted support.
That’s a lot of support for the green stuff! The survey also found a few interesting points about the people who are smoking cannabis in the United States such as:
55% are male, 45% female
54% are parents
52% are millenials
54% make less than $50k a year
53% characterize themselves as liberal
43% are democrats, 42% independents and 14% republican
Here is a link to the poll. I highly recommend checking it out. There are some astonishing statistics in there!
The Gallup Poll on US Adults Using Marijuana
Another survey supports the above evidence. It was conducted a year previously. According to the Gallup poll by Justin McCarthy, cannabis use reported an increase from 7% of the public smoking cannabis in 2013, to 13% in 2016. And that number continues to go up. An estimated seven thousand people are trying cannabis for the first time every single day. That’s a lot of people coming around to the cannabis club!
Gallup conducted a similar poll in 1969 and the numbers compared to our situation now show just how much everything has changed! Only 4% of citizens were willing to admit to cannabis use. This shows not only was cannabis way harder to obtain, but the stigma surrounding it was still very strong. Another important note is Gallup only began promising to keep information completely confidential.
McCarthy concluded in his study in 2016 that an average of 4 in 10 adults in the US have tried cannabis. The number officially listed is 43%. And it’s only expected to keep rising. According to McCarthy: “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”.
Thousands Try Cannabis for the First Time Each Day
Not only have nearly half of the adult population in the United States tried marijuana, but thousands more try it everyday. An increase in legality and availability, as well as a reduced social stigma has been crucial in people trying cannabis for themselves. With more and more people trying weed for themselves voting trends are likely to continue to favor legalization.
Who are these people coming around to the cannabis club? Well millennials certainly, but more surprisingly people in their older years are giving the ganja a try for the first time. There’s even an abundance of videos online showing older individuals trying weed! This actually makes a lot of sense. As we age the number of aches, pains, and ailments seem to multiply. Cannabis products provide relief without the price tag or side effects of pharmaceutical options.
It looks like all types of people are smoking cannabis. The numbers may even be higher when you consider the still-stigmatized state that cannabis use is in, some of the survey participants may have withheld information due to this stigma. It’s safe to say that there are plenty of responsible adults in the United States who use cannabis as medicine, therapy, or recreation. And historically speaking, this isn’t all that abnormal. Cannabis use was actually prevalent in the United States up until the beginning of the 20th century.
Why Cannabis Fell out of Fashion
Up until the early twentieth century cannabis use was not something that was as highly stigmatized as it is today. In fact, it had been used as medicine and a relaxant for thousands of years across the whole world! But starting around 1900, the plant began to be seen as a dangerous illicit substance.
Much of why cannabis is illegal can be traced back to xenophobia. For years cannabis had been used in different medications (yes, from the pharmacy!) to treat a wide variety of symptoms. It was even possible to get a prescription for cannabis itself. Then after the Mexican revolution, a large number of immigrants flooded into the United States, bringing with them what they called marijuana.
Cannabis was a name that the American public was familiar with, but marijuana was a new, foreign word. The government started a campaign against marijuana use, citing it as a dangerous substance used by illegal aliens. The social backlash against a once widely accepted plant was enormous. From then on a string of laws would ensure that cannabis, marijuana, whatever you wanted to call it, would remain illegal.
This anti-cannabis propaganda is best represented in the 1936 film “Reefer Madness”. The film portrays characters going insane, committing sexual assault, endangering kids, and even committing murder. This film was promoted as the reality of those using cannabis, when it was little more than a completely fictional piece of propaganda.
Finally in 1996 California became the first state to pass a proposition to make medical cannabis available to patients. Called the Compassionate Care Act, or Prop 215, this very influential break in cannabis prohibition showed that the people were suffering, and in need of an age-old medication to ease it. As of now, 29 states in the US have legalized cannabis use, with eight of those states allowing for recreational adult use.
The Future of Cannabis is in Our Hands
More than anything else the results of the surveys conducted shows the steady decline of negative opinions regarding adult cannabis use. After a long road fighting ridiculous stereotypes people are finally starting to be able to use their preferred medication or recreational substance without fear of long jail terms, at least in some areas.
It looks like all types of people are smoking cannabis. The numbers may even be higher when you consider the still-stigmatized state that cannabis use is in, some of the survey participants may have withheld information due to this stigma. It’s safe to say that there are plenty of responsible adults in the United States who use cannabis as medicine, therapy, or recreation.
Dialing back restrictions on the study of cannabis has been incredibly positive as well. It can now be proven that cannabis has a myriad of therapeutic and pharmaceutical uses. No longer are the uses of cannabis only anecdotal. Now there is supporting scientific evidence to show that cannabis is a positive substance that can be used for healing, not just a bad drug that will lead to other social problems.
94% of the almost 55 million United States citizens who have tried cannabis believe it should be legalized in some capacity. This number is sure to increase as more and more states legalize the plant. The future of cannabis is bright, and hopefully will only get brighter as the years progress. This plant has been medicine for thousands of years, and it looks like people are starting to come back around to this fact.
Overwhelmed by all the info out there? Check out this article for an intro to marijuana.
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I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this or any conditions you have or may believe you have. The information in this article is provided as an information resource only. These are just my own personal opinions and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever.