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Record High: More Americans Are Trying Marijuana, Gallup Poll Finds

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 8/17/2021 Kaia Hubbard
a bowl filled with different types of food on a table: Hemp flowers packed in containers sit on a table at Empire Standard, a hemp extract processing and distribution plant, on April 13, 2021 in Binghamton, New York. - New York's governor last month signed a law allowing its possession and use for adults aged 21 and older, and expanding its distribution for medical purposes.That allows companies like Empire Standard, which already are well-versed in cannabis cultivation for use in CBD, to now sell products with high concentrations of THC. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) © (ANGELA WEISS/Getty Images) Hemp flowers packed in containers sit on a table at Empire Standard, a hemp extract processing and distribution plant, on April 13, 2021 in Binghamton, New York. - New York's governor last month signed a law allowing its possession and use for adults aged 21 and older, and expanding its distribution for medical purposes.That allows companies like Empire Standard, which already are well-versed in cannabis cultivation for use in CBD, to now sell products with high concentrations of THC. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. say they have tried marijuana, a new Gallup survey found, the highest measured to date.

The poll found that 49% of adults say they have tried marijuana, up from 45% in 2017 and 2019. Just over 50 years ago, only 4% of American adults said they had tried marijuana. But by 1977, the share of adults who said they had tried the substance surpassed 20%, rising to around 30% in 1985 and more than 40% by 2015.

Generational patterns are behind the "increase in marijuana experimentation over the last five decades," the report says. Among the oldest generation surveyed, those born before 1946, just under 20% report having tried marijuana, while more than 50% of millennials say they have tried the substance. About half of Generation X and baby boomers likewise reported having tried marijuana. According to Gallup, the increase in the portion of U.S. adults who have tried marijuana likely reflects millennials replacing the oldest of the traditionalists, those born before 1946, in the U.S. adult population.


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Twelve percent of adults say they currently smoke marijuana, which has remained steady in recent years since. It was initially measured at 7% in 2013, about the time a wave of states began decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes. Younger Americans are most likely to smoke marijuana, the report says, and while 20% of millennials say they currently smoke marijuana and 10% of those in Generation X say they do the same, fewer than 10% of the older generations say they do.

Outside of generational differences, more men smoke marijuana than women. A larger share of liberals and Democrats reported regularly using marijuana than conservatives and Republicans as well.

While the percentage of American adults who have tried marijuana has climbed steadily in recent decades and will soon reach 50%, it may not get much higher, the report says, given steady rates of experimentation among Generation X and baby boomers.

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