One in every eight adults in the United States admit that they currently use marijuana, a new survey conducted by research company Gallup has revealed.
In 2013, Gallup found that only 7 percent of American adults smoked marijuana, while in 2015, the rate was 11 percent.
But when researchers asked again this year, the rate of cannabis use increased to 13 percent — equivalent to more than 33 million adults.
If marijuana users in the country resided in one state, the population would be larger than Texas and second only to California, experts say.
The newest Gallup poll, which has a 5 percent margin of error, was relayed through telephone interviews from July 13 to July 17 from a random cluster of 1,023 American adults.
Legalized Marijuana Use
Marijuana use is still prohibited by federal law, but several states have already turned recreational marijuana use legal, including Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, D.C. In November, five more states will decide whether to legalize marijuana or not.
Certain states have passed laws that allow medical marijuana. For instance, Missouri passed in April a restricted medical marijuana bill. Some of the policies include letting only cancer patients use medical marijuana.
Ohio soon followed and approved a bill in June that allows health care providers to prescribe medical marijuana to treat a number of illnesses.
The willingness of U.S. states to legalize marijuana could explain the uptick in the rate of American adults who say they smoke the substance, regardless of whether it is legal in their hometown or not, researchers say.
In fact, about 58 percent of Americans actually believe that marijuana use should become legalized in the country, indicating a strong shift in the view of the majority.
The Gallup poll also revealed that 43 percent of U.S. adults have tried to use marijuana before. Compare this rate with that in 1969, where only 4 percent of respondents admitted they had tried marijuana.
Gallup researchers say that from 1969 to 1977, young adults were the group most inclined to experiment with marijuana use. But as these young adults aged and successive generations joined the ranks, the overall rate sharply increased, Gallup writes.
Additionally, Gallup writes that those who live in the West, where four states have legalized recreational marijuana, are more likely to admit they use marijuana than those who live in other parts of the country.
Full details of the Gallup poll are published in the company's website.
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