How many Americans have tried marijuana? According to a new Gallup poll, 44% of those asked if they ever tried marijuana responded “yes.” This represents a significant jump since 2013, when 38% of Americans said they have consumed cannabis at least once.
To put the significance of this 6% increase in perspective, consider that during the 14 years from 1999 to 2013, the number of Americans who admitted trying pot increased on 4%, from 24% up to 38%. Does this mean that exponentially more Americans have tried it in the past two years? Probably not. The more likely scenario is that as the stigma against marijuana has rapidly faded, with four states legalizing recreational pot and more than two dozen allowing for some form of legal cannabis, usually medicinal.
Gallup has been collecting data on weed since 1969, when only 4% of those surveyed said they had tried pot. That number jumped to 24% by 1977, and steadily rose to 33% by 1985.
At that point, the growth slowed, with only 34% reporting they had tried marijuana until the late 90s—no doubt the result of the escalating drug war and increased penalties for marijuana.However, as states like California began legalizing medical marijuana (in 1996), the rate began to increase again.
The study also found that one in 10 Americans currently uses marijuana, up from 7% in 2013. It also pointed out that age, education and income had little effect on the those who have tried marijuana in their lifetime.