More Americans Owning Up to Pot Use Than Ever Before

By McCarton Ackerman 07/27/15

Gallup found that marijuana use has skyrocketed since they first started polling in 1969.

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It was revealed this week in the latest Gallup survey reflecting wildly different findings regarding pot use among Americans, that more Americans than ever are admitting to having tried marijuana.

More than 44% of those surveyed admitted to trying marijuana, compared to just 4% when Gallup first began asking the question in 1969. That number jumped to 33% in 1985 and has continued to slowly climb since then. The findings from the most recent survey came from telephone interviews conducted with 1,009 adults 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, from July 8-12.

Half of all men and 35% of women admitted to using pot at least once. When divided by age, Gallup found that half of Americans between ages 30 and 64 admitted to marijuana use, while just 37% of those under age 30 admitted to trying it.

Although only 11% of all participants admitted to currently smoking pot, it’s still a significant jump from 7% of participants admitting to current use in 2013. About 13% of men and 6% of women admitted to being current marijuana users in the most recent poll.

There were also differences in admitted pot use based on socioeconomic status. Nearly 14% of those earning less than $30,000 per year said they are current marijuana users, but only 7% of those earning $75,000 or more annually said they smoke pot.

Gallup explained that the increased admittance may reflect a rise in Americans smoking pot, but could also show an “increased willingness to admit to having done so in the past.” That willingness would also reflect several recent polls showing record numbers of Americans supporting legalization.

The General Social Survey, considered the definitive source on public opinion research, reported last March that 52% of Americans were in favor of legalization. CBS News recorded similar numbers last April with 53% in favor of it, the most since they began asking the question in 1979, while Fox News found a channel-record 51% supporting it in their survey released that same month.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.