There’s really only one accurate measure when it comes to both attitudes towards and acceptance of cannabis in the United States. That being, what percentage of the American public has used or regularly uses cannabis as of right now.
Since 1969, Gallup has been carrying out an annual study into exactly how many Americans have tried cannabis or consider themselves to be regular cannabis users. Unsurprisingly, the data collected for the 2017 poll would seem to suggest that the numbers in both instances have hit all-time highs.
Not only have close to half of all Americans experimented with cannabis at some point or another, but more US citizens than ever before now consider themselves to be regular cannabis users.
When the poll was first carried out in 1969, just 4% of respondents stated that they had ever tried cannabis.
The data revealed that approximately 12% of Americans – or one in eight to put it another way – now consumes cannabis in one form or another on a regular basis.
“With 29 U.S. states allowing medical marijuana use, and eight allowing recreational use, legal cannabis is taking hold in American society,” Gallup commented on the findings.
“There may be obstacles to marijuana becoming fully “accepted” in the United States. Attorney General Sessions appears to be cracking down on marijuana use and driving under the influence of pot continues to be a concern for many.”
Highlighting the on-going concern shared by the vast majority of key industry players, Gallup noted the apparent intention of Sessions and Co. to clamp down on cannabis use. The Atty. General has already mentioned on multiple occasions that he personally believes legal cannabis is a wholly negative thing for the United States, hinting on a couple of occasions that Federal cannabis law may be enforced when the time is right.
In turn, this has left both current industry players and those intending to get into the industry in a rather difficult position. On one hand, you find yourself siding with the kind of logic which states that the more powerful the industry, the less likely it is to face any kind of heavy-handed government action. On the other, few want to invest all of their eggs in one potentially problematic basket, given the way in which the government does technically have the power to do whatever the hell it wants.
And it’s not as if folks like Trump and Sessions have any real problem when it comes to controversial decisions.
Still, the folks at Gallup and many others like them believe that record numbers of American citizens using cannabis play entirely in the favour of both the industry and legalisation in general. It’s simply a case of strength in numbers – the more support there is for legal cannabis, the less likely it is that the industry will be brought to a grinding halt.
“Despite legal hurdles, however, a record-high percentage of Americans say they have tried marijuana. Smoking pot is still not as prevalent as cigarette smoking in the U.S. at 17%, but current marijuana usage is about as high as it has been,” Gallup continued.
“If more states legalize the drug, regular usage — or at least experimenting with marijuana — could rise. Legality may confer a certain societal acceptance of the drug. Sessions’ hopes to prosecute state-level marijuana crimes may prove to be a hindrance, but it is unlikely this multibillion-dollar industry will be stopped anytime soon.”