Percentage of U.S. marijuana users is getting higher

Forty-three percent of adults in the US say they have tried pot, which is still illegal under federal law.
Forty-three percent of adults in the US say they have tried pot, which is still illegal under federal law. Associated Press

Marijuana use has fired up among American adults.

Thirteen percent of U.S. adults say they currently smoke pot, nearly double the 7 percent who reported smoking it just three years ago, a new Gallup poll released on Monday reveals.

That means one in eight American adults tokes.

Forty-three percent of adults in the country say they have tried pot, which is still illegal under federal law. That’s up slightly from 38 percent in 2013.

The nation’s attitude toward marijuana is clearly turning, with the majority of Americans since 2013 supporting legalization in the United States, according to Gallup’s polls. The latest survey showed that 58 percent of Americans favor legalization.

Three years ago two states — Colorado and Washington — legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Since then Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia have followed suit.

In November, voters in five more states — Maine, Massachusetts, California, Arizona and Nevada — will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, according to CNN. A few others could decide whether to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal use.

“As nine states vote on various levels of marijuana legalization this fall, 2016 could mark a significant legal shift on the issue,” Gallup notes.

“Recreational use could become legal in as many as nine states (up from four today), and medicinal use could become legal in an additional four states.

“As for medical marijuana, pros and cons for the drug — including recreational use of it — are well-documented. The negative effects could keep many Americans from regularly using or even trying marijuana. Still, because a clear majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana and more states are considering it, it’s likely that use of and experimentation with marijuana will increase.”

Where you live, your age and how religious you are appear to affect your pot usage, according to Gallup’s survey.

Pot usage, for instance, is low among churchgoing folks. Only 2 percent who go to church weekly say they use marijuana, but 14 percent of those who seldom or never attend a religious service smoke it.

And, nearly one in five adults — 19 percent — under the age of 30 said they currently smoke, at least double the rate seen in every other older age group.

Among people who live in the East, Midwest and South, both the percentages who use marijuana and who have experimented with it are slightly below the national averages.

Americans in the West, though, are more likely to report current usage and experimentation.

“This could be because of marijuana’s legal status in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, but could also reflect a regional difference in attitudes, even as more Western states — including Arizona, California and Nevada — prepare to vote on recreational marijuana use in November,” Gallup notes.

The poll results were based on phone interviews with about 1,000 randomly chosen adults.

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