A new study finds that the percentage of adult Americans who say they use cannabis today has almost doubled in the last three years.
In 2013, only 7 percent of adults said they were cannabis users. When Gallup asked again in July this year, 13 percent admitted current use of cannabis. This translates to over 33 million users in the US. If users residing in a state, it would be bigger than Texas and the second only to California in population.
There are currently approximately 40 million cigarette smokers in the US, according to data from Control Centers and Disease Prevention. Since the use of tobacco is declining, cannabis use could be more widespread than the use of cigarettes in just a couple of years.
There are probably several factors that lead to these numbers. Since 2013, recreational cannabis markets opened in Colorado and Washington, and several other states voted to legalize hemp in autumn 2014. It is more likely that the adults in these places to seize the new opportunities to buy legally.
National surveys show that support for legalizing cannabis is between 55-60 percent. Some lawmakers asked to relax the federal restrictions or fully legalized.
The recreational use of cannabis remains illegal at the federal level and in most states. The police arrest people for possessing cannabis – more than 1,700 per day, according to 2014 data from the FBI.
However, the attitude towards cannabis use has come a long way since 1980 when Ronald Reagan called hemp “the most dangerous drug in the United States.”
Much of this change may be due to lived experience. In the late 1960s, less than 5 percent of adults told Gallup that they had never smoked cannabis. Today that number is up to 43 percent. Whether you use it today, nearly half of American adults now have firsthand experience with cannabis.