The number of adults partaking in marijuana use seems to be growing.
A recent Gallop Poll found that 13% of adults in the U.S. have admitted to current marijuana use. This number is a significant rise from a similar poll conducted in 2013 where Gallop found that 7% of adults admitted to consuming marijuana. The number of those who have tried marijuana has also risen from 38% to 43% in 3 years. Education level and income did not seem to alter the results significantly. Of those making under $30,000 per year, 14% reported current marijuana use. The number is only slightly higher than those with higher income.
Gallop linked the increase of marijuana use to the friendlier legal landscape. Half of the states have passed some form of medical marijuana legislation while 4 (plus the city of Washington D.C) have legalized recreational use. Residents in an additional 5 states (Maine, Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, and California) will vote on recreational legalization on election day. Votes to legalize medical marijuana will be conducted in four states (Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and Montana) as well.
“As nine states vote on various levels of marijuana legalization this fall, 2016 could mark a significant legal shift on the issue,” Gallop concluded.
According to Gallop, a “clear majority” of Americans support legalizing marijuana. The research firm suggested that experimentation and regular use of marijuana is poised to rise even more as additional states start to permit its use.
Although the identities of poll participants are kept confidential, it is possible that part of the increase in reported marijuana use is also related to the fading stigma associated with using the drug. Many could still be skeptical of admitting to marijuana use and risk losing their jobs if their employer were to find out or simply abstain from use. If employers stop testing for marijuana, the number of admitted marijuana users could rise sharply.