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With Liberalized Laws, Young Adult Marijuana Use Plummets

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joint teen use marijuanaBy Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director

According to polling data released this week by Gallup, 38% of Americans admit to having smoked marijuana in their lives. This rate remains relatively unchanged from Gallup’s previous surveys on this question. 34% responded in the affirmative when asked in 1999 and 33% in 1985.

What is significant about this data is that, while total use had risen very slightly, use among 18-29 year olds has fallen 20% since 1985. In 1985, 56% of 18-29 year olds admitted to having tried marijuana, which dropped to 46% in 1999 and is now down to 36%. This decrease has occurred while twenty states approved medical marijuana legislation, sixteen states have decriminalized possession, and two states have fully legalized marijuana. The threats of skyrocketing young adult use seem incredibly unfounded when it appears the current trajectory towards marijuana legalization has had the opposite effect.

Gallup found use rates among 50 to 64 year olds has gone from 9% in 1985 to 44% today. These findings seem to show that as those who came of age in the 1960-s and 70-s get older they are continuing or returning to their cannabis use.

You can view the full survey here.

A 2011 Gallup poll found that a record high of 50% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

Source: NORML - make a donation

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3 Comments

  1. I doubt if those are the real numbers. A lot of people answering these surverys arent honest. What high school kid hasnt tried pot just once??

  2. Jerry Atrics on

    NORML? Like they’re not biased! What fiction!

    Certainly they, and this website, are NOT NORMAL.
    al qaeda sucks. end the jihad!

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