Cannabis legalization is not just a hot topic in Congress, but all throughout the United States even as the plant remains federally illegal.

Despite being a Schedule I controlled substance, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Americans are pretty split on their views of cannabis and its effects on both individual consumers and society as a whole.

Gallup’s recent annual Consumption survey polled Americans on their cannabis views, habits, and more to examine trends and changes over the years.

Views of Cannabis Consumption

If you’ve consumed cannabis, you likely approve of its effects on individuals and society at large. If you haven’t, you probably believe it has negative effects.

Among those who have tried marijuana, 70% believe it has very or somewhat positive effect on consumers and 66% believe it has a very or somewhat positive effect on society. In contrast, among those who have never tried marijuana, 35% believe it has very or somewhat positive effects on consumers, and 27% believe it has a very or somewhat positive effect on society.

Overall, 53% of Americans say marijuana has positive effects on individual consumers and 49% say it has positive effects on society, while 45% say it has negative effects on consumers and 50% say it has negative effects on society.

Relatedly, another recent, separate Gallup Poll showed that 75% of Americans say alcohol consumption has a negative effect on society and 71% say it has a negative effect on individual drinkers.

While Americans seem split on their views of cannabis consumption, a Nov. 2021 poll from Gallup shows a record 68% of Americans approve of adult-use cannabis legalization.

Consumption Habits

Nearly half (48%) of U.S. adults report ever having tried marijuana, according to a new Gallup Poll. This figure is double the figure reported in 1977 (24%), and dwarfs the 4% reported in 1969 when Gallup first posed the poll question. By gender, 53% of men report ever having tried marijuana compared to 42% of women.

While 48% report ever having tried marijuana, 16% of Americans report they currently smoke marijuana while 14% report consuming edibles. Amongst men, 18% say they currently smoke marijuana while 14% say they consume edibles, while 14% of women say they smoke and 13% say they eat edibles.

On the question of have you ever tried marijuana, the 18-to-34 and 35-to-54 age demographics were relatively similar at 51% and 49%, respectively. Furthermore, amongst those aged 18 to-34, 30% report currently smoking marijuana and 22% report currently consuming edibles, compared to 16% and 16%, respectively, for those aged 35-to 54.

Respondents aged 55 and older were relatively similar when it comes to ever having tried marijuana (44%), but there are stark differences in current consumption habits: Only 7% report currently smoking marijuana, and 7% report currently consuming edibles.

Marijuana consumption didn’t differ much based on education: 47% of college graduates report having ever tried marijuana, compared to 44% for “some college” and 52% for “no college.”

Consumption did vary greatly, however, between political parties. A majority (53%) of those who identified as Democrat report having ever tried marijuana, with 20% saying they currently smoke marijuana and 17% saying they currently consume edibles. In contrast, 34% of Republicans report ever having tried marijuana, with 12% saying they currently smoke and 9% saying they currently consume edibles.

Read the full results from Gallup’s annual Consumption poll here. These results are based on telephone interviews conducted from July 5-26 with a random sample of 1,013 U.S. adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is ± 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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