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Fully Half of Americans Have Tried Marijuana

Fully Half of Americans Have Tried Marijuana

Story Highlights

  • 50% of U.S. adults say they have experimented with marijuana
  • About one in six Americans (17%) are current users
  • Three in four Americans are concerned about effects on young/teen users

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Half of Americans (50%) say they have tried marijuana at some time, a new high point for this behavior that has been inching up over the past quarter century. While essentially unchanged from the 49% and 48% readings in 2021 and 2022, respectively, the new figure is statistically higher than the 45% in 2017 and 2019 who said they had tried marijuana.

In answer to a separate question intended to measure current behavior, about one in six Americans (17%) say they "smoke marijuana." This is also a new high in Gallup’s trend since 2003, albeit similar to the 16% recorded a year ago.


These findings are from Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits survey, conducted July 3-27.

The proportion of Americans who say they smoke marijuana has more than doubled since 2013, when Gallup first asked the question. That year, 7% said they did.

Gallup’s much longer trend on ever having tried marijuana shows that experimentation increased sharply in the first decade after the initial measure. Between 1969 and 1977, it jumped 20 percentage points, from 4% to 24%. It rose another nine points, to 33%, by 1985, but thereafter stalled at under 40% until 2015, when it ticked up to 44%. It remained at about that level through 2019 but then rose to 49% in 2021, roughly where it is today.

Over that same period, Gallup recorded a significant increase in the U.S. public’s support for legalization of marijuana, which has grown from 12% in 1969 to 68% today.

Current Use of Marijuana Highest Among Young Adults

Across nearly all gender, age and education groups, roughly half of U.S. adults have experimented with marijuana, according to aggregated data from 2022 and 2023. There is more differentiation by party, with majorities of Democrats (57%) and independents (52%) saying they have tried it, versus 39% of Republicans.

As Gallup has previously reported, current use is highest among adults aged 18 to 34. At 29%, this group is more than three times as likely as adults aged 55 and older (9%) to report using marijuana. Current use among adults aged 35-54 (17%) matches the national average.

Similar percentages of men and women say they use marijuana. Meanwhile, adults without a college degree are about twice as likely as college graduates to smoke it. Democrats (21%) are nearly twice as likely as Republicans (12%) to smoke marijuana, while independents’ use (17%) falls in between.


Three in Four Concerned About Marijuana’s Effects on Teens/Young Adults

Americans lean toward harboring low levels of concern about the effects of marijuana on adult regular users. The majority say they are “not too” (32%) or “not at all concerned” (23%), while less than half say they are “very” (19%) or “somewhat concerned” (26%).

They are much more likely to express concerns about marijuana’s effects on young adults or teens who are regular users, with three in four Americans saying they are very (40%) or somewhat concerned (35%). This may reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warning that marijuana use can disproportionately impact young people, with negative effects on their brain development and mental health.


Bottom Line

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. Now, half of the country has tried it, while the other half say they never have.

Experimentation with marijuana among most subgroups is on par with the national average, but the rate of current use varies more -- and is highest among young adults.

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