Most Americans are actually for the legalization of medical marijuana, and split on the issue of recreational marijuana legalization. And the ones who are staunchly against marijuana represent quite a small segment of the population, typically those of the far right with ultra conservative values. But as a study recently suggested, most Americans have actually tried marijuana at some stage of their lives.
Survey finds most Americans have tried Weed
A poll conducted by Marist Poll/Yahoo News has demonstrated that 52% of Americans over the age of 21 have tried weed. The survey, titled “Weed and the American Family” investigated how American citizens felt about marijuana and their thoughts on legalization, in terms of the dangers and the benefits. The survey was carried out on 1,122 adults.
To break down the figures a little further, 65% of those who have tried it once are parents, and 44% of those who tried it once are still using it to this day. Parents do not reveal to their kids that they smoke pot. Most likely this is due to social stigma and societal values. Smoking pot is not seen as an acceptable habit for responsible parents who should be setting a better example for their children. It could also lead to severe social judgement. As the benefits of cannabis become more well-known and socially accepted, this stigma may be removed. 93% of parents with underage children said they have never used marijuana in front of their kids. 54% did say that they have talked to their kids about their use of marijuana.
The study reveals how the attitudes towards marijuana have changed and are changing even faster as awareness grows. Acceptance of all things alternative is on the rise from finance to health to marijuana. Among other revelations, the poll revealed that parents are not really worried about their kids smoking weed, but are actually more worried about their children smoking cigarettes. This makes sense, given one promotes health and the other has been scientifically linked to a host of ailments and premature deaths.
83% of those surveyed were in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana, while there was more or less an even split on the issue of recreational marijuana. 47% were against recreational marijuana legalization while 49% were behind it. Surprisingly, 62% of survey respondents said they would not use marijuana as a pain reliever even if it were legal.
Most people who use marijuana do so for fun and not to relieve stress or pain.
The Dangers of Surveys
If Brexit and the recent Presidential election are anything to go by, surveys and polls of all kinds are to be viewed with caution. Another poll conducted by Gallup found than more than 40% of Americans have tried Cannabis at least once. The survey was conducted across all 50 states and all 1,021 participants were over the age of 18. When Gallup first conducted the study in 1969 the results were 4%. In 2013 the figure was at 38%, and now the figure is at 45%.
But the way that questions are worded has significant impacts on the responses, and these questions have changed with time. Surveys have many issues and are best taken as very general indicators. What is significant is that surveys have reported that the numbers of people who admitted to taking marijuana started to surge in 2011, around the time when states started to legalize marijuana. Interestingly, the Gallup survey demonstrates that the percentage of people who try weed stays constant across different incomes. This indicates that class does not play much of a role in cannabis consumption. The Gallup polls also found that the number of people who regularly use cannabis is around 12%. This is up from the reported 7% from the 2013 Gallup poll.
Many argue that these figures are not accurate and that the number of people who have tried marijuana is much higher, as is the number of those who were regular users at some stage of their lives. It is very hard to believe that only 52% of Americans over the age of 21 have tried marijuana. It may be that of the 48% of those who have not tried it, many are over the age of 50, born in times where it was not as available and there were significant social hurdles to overcome. These percentages will increase vastly with marijuana legalization and the liberal society that millennials are growing up in.
What it all Means
Is seems that recent marijuana legalization is resulting in an increase of people trying marijuana. But the number of frequent users may not increase by such drastic proportions. The yahoo poll outlined that many of those surveyed would not use marijuana as a pain killer. Despite legalization and benefits some people may simply not like to smoke marijuana for their own personal reasons.