A new survey has revealed that 44 percent of the American population has smoked cannabis — a possible indication that the “reefer madness” driven into civil society over the past several decades is starting to wear thin. According to the latest Gallup poll, more of the U.S. population admits to smoking marijuana now than they have since the research firm began surveying the public on the issue in 1969. At that time, only about 4 percent of the public confessed to having experimented with the herb.
This year, in addition to being asked if they had ever tried cannabis, the respondents were invited to share their current habits. Around 11 percent said that they are regular cannabis consumers, which is around a 7 percent increase from when the poll was conducted in 2013. Overall, men reported smoking marijuana twice as much as women, with the percentages narrowing when solicited for information pertaining to experimentation.
The results of the survey, which were published last Wednesday, reveal a growing trend in which more Americans are becoming more accepting of the use of cannabis in modern times — a shift in the social atmosphere that no longer makes legalization a “liberal pipe dream.”
“Marijuana is being taken more seriously these days,” said the pollsters. “The stigma associated with smoking marijuana appears to be loosening, and Americans may be less shy about revealing their experiences or habits than they have been in the past. For whatever reason, more Americans than ever before admit that they have smoked marijuana in the past, and there has been an increase in the modest percentage who say they currently smoke it.”
Earlier this year, a General Social Survey found that, for the first time in history, the majority of Americans (51.7 percent) support the legalization of marijuana. There is speculation that once these numbers hit the 65-66 percent range, Congress will be forced to make changes to the laws.
When was the first time you tried cannabis? Let us know about your experience in the comments.
This article first appeared in Cannabis Now, a magazine published by a group of individuals passionate about the topic of cannabis and the debate surrounding it.