More Americans are coming out of the shadows and owning up to their past marijuana use than ever before, according to a new report from highly respected research firm Gallup. Not only are more people saying they’ve lit up in the past, but the new poll also suggests that legal weed and relaxing attitudes across the country have led to the highest percentage of current cannabis users since researchers began collecting data almost 50 years ago.
The poll, conducted earlier this month with over 1,000 respondents from all 50 states, found that 45% of American adults said that they had tried marijuana at some point in their lives, while 12% said that they are current users.
Despite threats from the likes of Jeff Sessions and Chris Christie, the prevalence of cannabis culture and rapidly expanding legalization have led more Americans than ever before to, at least confidentially, come out of the stoner closet. When Gallup first started their cannabis use study in 1969 only 4% of Americans said they had experimented with ganja, and the number has been growing steadily ever since.
In last year’s cannabis consumption poll, 60% of respondents said that they believe marijuana should be legalized.
The change in overall use and attitudes about legalization could be attributed to a changing of the guard, with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers living more progressive lives than their conservative parents. Millennials even more likely to be current users than their Baby Boomer parents, who might have tried it in their youth, but given it up in the decades since.
If the trend continues, it should only be a few years before a majority of Americans will have tried weed at some point in their lives. And with current cannabis use rates at 12% and cigarette smokers making up only 17% of the population, it might not be long before big bud overtakes big tobacco in popularity.