American Cannabis Consumption Hits All-Time High

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WASHINGTON – Fifty-percent of American adults have tried cannabis, according to a recent Gallup report, marking the highest point since the polling organization conducted its first consumption habits survey in 1969.

While the popularity of flower is beginning to show signs of decline in regulated markets, the percentage of American adults who say they smoke cannabis has doubled to 14 percent—or approximately 36 million people—since 2013, when Gallup first asked the question. 

Data: Gallup 2023

Looking back, the percent of Americans who experimented with marijuana grew by 20 percent between 1969 and 1977, then another nine percent by the mid-’80s before largely stalling until 2015. During the same period, Gallup reported significant changes in the public’s support for cannabis legalization, which has grown from 12 percent to 68 percent over the past 54 years.

“As marijuana has become more available to Americans and legal in an increasing number of states, their reports of use and experimentation have increased too,” the report states. “Now, half of the country has tried it, while the other half say they never have.”

The survey also looks at consumption habits by gender, age, education, and political affiliation. Even though half of U.S. adults have tried cannabis, those younger than 35 are three times as likely as those older than 55 to report regular use.

While adults with and without college degrees try cannabis at the same rate, college graduates are about half as likely to smoke it. When looking at alcohol consumption in a separate poll, Gallup found an increase in drinking for college-educated Americans and higher levels of alcohol abstinence among those who never attended college.

Data: Gallup 2023

Age appears to play the biggest determining role in smoking habits, but political affiliation matters the most when it comes to trying cannabis. More than half of Democrats and independents have tried it compared with 39 percent of Republicans. Despite never having tried cannabis, slightly more than half of Republicans still support its legalization, according to the most recent Gallup data from 2022. However, when Gallup looked into support for legalizing marijuana use among 35 subgroups across ideology, age, and religiosity, those who identified as Republicans ranked near the bottom at 33rd, just above the only two subgroups that don’t support legalization: those who identify as conservatives and those who attend church weekly.

The findings from Gallup’s 2023 consumption habits report are based on telephone interviews (80 percent cellphone and 20 percent landline) conducted between July 3 and 27, 2023, and aggregate data from 2022. Interviews were taken from a random sample of more than 1,000 adults residing in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is ±4 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent.