Percentage of Americans who have tried marijuana rises to new high: Gallup

Percentage of Americans who have tried marijuana rises to new high: Gallup
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Nearly half of U.S. adults say in a new poll that they have tried marijuana, as more states move to greenlight legislation legalizing it in recent months.

In the poll released by Gallup on Tuesday, 49 percent of U.S. adults said they have tried marijuana, a new high-water mark in the survey giant's research.

The company noted the percentage has steadily risen in the past 50 years, with a sharp rise from 4 percent to 22 percent around the 1970s. It stood at 30 percent in 1985 and then 40 percent six years ago, Gallup noted.

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The company also said it’s also seen more consistency in recent years in the percentage of respondents who say they are currently smoking marijuana, a drug that remains illegal at the federal level although it’s been legalized for recreational and medical use in a growing number of states. 

Just 12 percent of participants in the new poll said they “smoke marijuana.” The company said the percentage has hovered around the 11-13 percent range over the past few years even though the percentage of adults who say they smoke cigarettes has declined.

The company also pointed to generational patterns uncovered in its polling, noting those 77 or older are significantly less likely to have said they’ve tried marijuana than younger respondents. 

By contrast, 51 percent of millennials said they tried marijuana and 49 percent of Generation Xers said the same, as did 50 percent of baby boomers.

Younger U.S. adults were also more likely to say they smoke marijuana. 

The company also provided a closer look into other demographics, including a breakdown by gender, politics and education.

According to the new poll, 16 percent of male respondents said they smoke marijuana, compared to 9 percent of women.

Fifteen percent of Democratic-identifying respondents said they regularly use marijuana, while 7 percent of those identifying as Republican said the same.

The poll also found that the rate of marijuana consumption was higher among those who obtained a four-year college degree or less (14 percent) than those who had a postgraduate education (5 percent). 

The poll was conducted between July 6-21 and has a random nationwide sample of 1,007 adults. The margin of sampling error is 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.