Study: Personal Psychedelic Use Common Among Therapists

Therapists who administer psychedelic treatments to patients apparently like to use psychedelics themselves.

That is the chief takeaway of a new study published in the journal Psychedelic Medicine, revealing that “Personal experience with psychedelics was notably common in this sample of psychedelic therapists.”

The findings, the authors of the study noted, are “the first to delineate the personal use of psychedelics among professionals and can inform a pressing debate for the field.”

That psychedelic therapists use psychedelics might seem like a “dog bites man” caliber headline, but as the authors noted, an “emerging controversy in psychedelic therapy regards the appropriateness or necessity of psychedelic therapists having personal experience using psychedelics themselves.”

“Although there are a number of potential advantages and disadvantages to personal use among psychedelic therapists, no studies to date have measured their use or other aspects of their training,” they wrote. 

For the study, the researchers said that they “broadly review[ed] the literature on experiential learning in psychotherapy and psychiatry as well as the history of personal use of psychedelics by professionals,” and then reported “on the results of a survey that was sent to all 145 therapists associated with Usona Institute’s Phase II clinical trial of psilocybin for major depressive disorder.”

They said that 32 of those individuals participated in the survey, representing a 22% response rate. 

In their conclusion, the authors said that “study was limited by a low response rate and a lack of diversity among participants,” as “the majority of psychedelic therapists identified as white, female, and having doctoral degrees.” 

The authors also noted that six individuals “did not fully complete the survey and were removed from all analyses,” and that “all six of these participants stopped the survey when prompted to answer questions regarding their personal substance use.”

“Future research is needed to address these limitations as well as to identify whether personal experience with psychedelics contributes to therapists’ competency or introduces bias to the field,” they wrote. 

“One interpretation of the low response rate is that only a small proportion of the practitioners working as psychedelic facilitators felt comfortable answering questions—anonymously and confidentially—about their personal experiences with psychedelic substances, but other explanations such as the lack of compensation for participating in the study may also be relevant,” the authors added.

Still, the findings are significant, particularly as psychedelic therapy continues to become more prevalent. 

“This sample of psychedelic therapists had considerable experience using classic psychedelic drugs and related hallucinogens themselves, with 28 of 32 (88%) endorsing use of a classic psychedelic and all but 1 participant trying at least one hallucinogen-related substance. This figure differs from the general population lifetime rate of psychedelic use, which tends to be around 10–15%; although several recent studies have indicated that usage seems to be increasing. Only one of four individuals without previous classic psychedelic experience had previous psychedelic training, making these individuals unique and relatively psychedelic-naive candidates to provide the treatment. Given their paucity of experience in the field, these individuals may represent interesting case studies in understanding the role of experiential learning with psychedelics,” the authors wrote.

They continued: “In terms of intentions, personal development and spiritual growth were the most common reasons reported for substance use, particularly with the classic psychedelics. However, most participants also reported intentions related to having fun and curiosity … Although the role of intentions has often been noted as being critical to the acute experience and subsequent outcomes among psychedelic users … there has been limited research prospectively testing the relationship between intentions and drug effects. Nonetheless, our results add to a growing body of literature suggesting a distinct set of intentions among psychedelic users.”

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More Than 80% of Texans Back Medical Cannabis, Poll Says

More than 80% of Texans are in favor of medical cannabis, while a smaller majority backs recreational pot, according to a new survey.

The poll, which comes via the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, found that 82% of Texans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. Sixty-seven percent of Texans support legislation that would make the recreational use of marijuana for any purpose legal for those age 21 and older, according to the poll.

“Attitudes about the use of marijuana have been evolving over the past few decades, and we found especially strong support for expanding the use of medical marijuana,” said Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the Hobby School, as quoted by Houston Public Media. “But a majority of Texans across-the-board – across partisan, generational and racial and ethnic lines – also said they support legalization for recreational use.”

Medical cannabis is legal in the Lone Star State, but the law is highly restrictive. Qualifying patients are only allowed cannabis products that contain 1% THC or less. The program is also plagued by a dearth of dispensaries, with only three new licenses issued in the past three years.

Last month, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that it was trying to mitigate that as it began accepting applications for new dispensary licenses. 

“An announcement detailing the process for application acceptance and the subsequent approval process to issue additional licenses will be made at a later date. The department will issue only the number of licenses necessary to ensure reasonable statewide access to, and the availability of, low-THC cannabis for patients registered in the compassionate-use registry,” the department said in its announcement last month.

Recreational marijuana, meanwhile, remains prohibited. 

The polling data from the University of Houston shows strong support across multiple demographics for both. 

Among the 82% who say they support medical cannabis, 56% said they are “strongly” in favor of the policy. 

Here’s more from the cross-tabs:

“85% of Latino, 83% of Black and 80% of white Texans support this [medical cannabis] legislation. This includes 60% of Latinos and 55% of whites who strongly support it. 83% of women and 80% of men support this legislation. 93% of Democrats, 79% of Independents and 73% of Republicans support this legislation. This includes 71% of Democrats who strongly support it.”

As for recreational pot, 47% said they are “strongly” in favor. 

“When asked about preferences regarding the sale and use of marijuana in Texas, 54% of Texans opt for legislation under which marijuana would be legal for medical and recreational use and 28% of Texans opt for legislation under which marijuana would be legal for medical use only. Finally, 18% of Texans prefer the current legislative status quo under which marijuana use for either recreational or medical purposes is illegal in Texas,” the pollsters wrote

Mark P. Jones, senior research fellow at the Hobby School and political science fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, observed some partisan and religious division in the polling numbers.

“A significant minority of Texans, especially those who identify as Republican, Independent and born-again Christian, say they personally do not favor easing state regulations,” Jones said, as quoted by Houston Public Media.  “Almost one out of five Texans, or 18%, said they would prefer no change to the state’s current marijuana laws.”

Cross, meanwhile, envisions reform for the state’s medical cannabis law.

“If anything, I think we’ll see the diseases or illnesses allowed probably expanded,” she said, as quoted by Houston Public Media. “So in essence, it will make it easier to get a prescription for medical marijuana in Texas.”

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Only a Quarter of Virginia Drivers Said Driving on Pot is ‘Extremely Dangerous,’ Survey Shows

Virginia authorities announced the results of a recent survey on the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving, but things didn’t go exactly as planned: Officials said that the survey shows “unsettling” and “alarming” attitudes about how safe it is to drive when under the influence of pot.

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) released new survey results that measure Virginians’ attitudes toward cannabis use and driving according to an October 25 press release.

Stratacomm, a public affairs consulting firm, conducted the survey and received over 750 responses representing a demographic cross-section of Virginia residents ages 16 and older. 

About 23% of respondents reported consuming cannabis in the past three months and about 14% of Virginia drivers who were surveyed said that they have driven high a few times or more in the past year. 

Almost one-third of those surveyed believe cannabis makes them a safer driver. It is important to remember, however, that some respondents are only 16 years of age, barely old enough to drive. It might make the loose attitudes about driving safety easier to imagine.

The data shows that Virginians do not perceive cannabis-impaired driving to be nearly as dangerous as other risky behaviors—like drinking and driving: 60% of respondents view texting and driving and 49% regard alcohol-impaired driving to be “extremely dangerous,” but only a quarter of Virginians—26%—view cannabis-impaired driving as “extremely dangerous.”

The CCA will use the survey results to develop a safe driving campaign mandated by the 2021 General Assembly that will highlight the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving, which is set to launch in January 2023.

The CCA has their work cut out for them. “These results are worrying and underscore the General Assembly was right to direct the CCA to undertake a safe driving campaign,” said John Keohane, CCA Board Chair and retired Police Chief of Hopewell, Virginia.

“As a public safety and public health agency, the CCA currently has no greater priority than creating a well-funded, aggressive, and sustained campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of marijuana-impaired driving,” added Jeremy Preiss, the CCA’s Acting Head and Chief Officer for Regulatory, Policy, and External Affairs.

The findings also suggest that not all Virginians who consume cannabis do it responsibly: 47% of cannabis consumers who were surveyed reported they do not always have a plan for a sober ride and 24% of respondents indicating they have been a passenger in a car operated by a high driver more than once in the past year.

“The CCA wants to empower Virginians to make informed decisions about marijuana use and ensure people understand that operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is extremely dangerous,” concluded Brianna Bonat, the CCA’s lead public health official.

The CCA invites people who are interested in learning more public health and safety information related to cannabis to visit

Efforts to promote safe driving with cannabis are active at the federal level as well. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) commissioned a report about educational campaigns on cannabis and driving on July 26. The GHSA partnered with National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving to create a playbook written specifically for State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO).

Similar efforts to pinpoint the need for safety for people who consume cannabis is ongoing in Canada as well. Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in April 2021 was conducted by a research team associated with Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and found similar attitudes and misinformation about driving under the influence of pot. 

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Australian Cannabis Patients Turning to Prescriptions Over Illicit Market, Study Shows

New research from the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative seeks to take a closer look at cannabis consumers’ habits. The results found that most Australians medicate with illicit cannabis, though the number of patients accessing medicinal cannabis has risen dramatically over the years. The study’s findings were recently published in Harm Reduction Journal.

It’s the third Cannabis as a Medicine Survey (CAMS20), following two previous iterations, CAMS16 and CAMS18. The authors note that, even though Australia has had its legal framework for medicinal cannabis since 2016, prior surveys indicated most consumers were still using illicit cannabis products, while regulatory data indicated an increase in medicinal cannabis prescriptions since 2019.

Researchers administered a cross-sectional anonymous survey to 1,600 participants from September 2020 to January 2021. Participants were eligible if they were over 18 years of age, used cannabis for self-identified medical reason(s) in the past year, and a resident in Australia.

The survey ultimately found that 37.6% of respondents received a legal prescription for medical cannabis, a major increase from the 2.5% of respondents who reported prescription use in the 2018 iteration of the CAMS survey. Those who exclusively used prescription cannabis were often older, women, and less likely to be employed.

Prescribed participants were more likely to use cannabis to treat pain than those using illicit cannabis (52% vs. 40%) and were also less likely to treat sleep conditions (6% vs. 11%). Mental health conditions were also common indications for both groups (26% and 31%, respectively). Additionally, prescribed medicinal cannabis was predominately consumed through oral routes (72%), while illicit cannabis was more often smoked (41%).

As far as medicinal cannabis access, and despite the fact that medical patients in Australia have drastically increased over the past several years, few participants (10.8%) described the existing model for accessing prescribed medicinal cannabis as “straightforward or easy.”

Survey participants mostly called out the cost of medicinal cannabis as a barrier, with an average cost of $79 per week, highlighting the need to reexamine the cost of treatment for patients. People using illicit cannabis also reported that they had trouble finding medical practitioners with the ability or willingness to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

The study’s lead researcher, Professor Nicholas Lintzeris from the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, said this data suggests that Australia has seen a transition from illicit use toward the legal use of medicinal cannabis.

“A number of benefits were identified in moving to prescribed products, particularly where consumers reported safer ways of using medical cannabis. People using illicit cannabis were more likely to smoke their cannabis, compared to people using prescribed products who were more likely to use oral products or vaporised cannabis, highlighting a health benefit of using prescribed products,” Lintzeris said.

Respondents also reported positive outcomes from their medical cannabis use overall, with 95% stating that using medical cannabis has improved their health.

Professor Iain McGregor, academic director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, added that there are advantages in using medicinal cannabis instead of its illicit counterpart, including safer routes of administration, greater certainty of access, and better communication between patients and doctors.

“Patients can also be informed of the exact THC/CBD composition, which is an ongoing problem with illicit product,” McGregor said. “There should be further efforts to transition patients from illicit to regulated, quality-controlled, cannabis products.”

In the study conclusion, authors echo similar sentiments, noting the progress and uptick in medicinal cannabis prescriptions since the regulatory framework was first introduced in 2016. While they similarly note the benefits of using medicinal cannabis, authors recognized the barriers that may keep illicit cannabis users from securing a prescription.

In closing, the authors suggest further research to address the barriers respondents reported in accessing medical practitioners willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Australia. The CAMS series is conducted every two years, and if the stark contrast between this survey and the previous iteration is any indicator, hopefully the upcoming iteration will close some of these gaps in patient access to medicinal cannabis in the future.

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Survey Says Americans Are Choosing Pot Over Cigarettes

More Americans are smoking marijuana than cigarettes, according to a new survey, marking a milestone shift in consumer habits in the United States.

The data, compiled as part of Gallup’s annual “Consumption Survey” and released last week, showed that only 11% of Americans reported themselves as cigarette smokers––a new low since the pollster first started asking the question in the 1940s.

Conversely, around 16% of Americans identified as current cannabis smokers, according to Gallup.

For the first time, the pollster asked Americans if they are current users of cannabis edibles, with 14% reporting that they are.

The findings were foreshadowed by the previous decade, when dozens of states and cities ended the prohibition on pot and Americans turned away en masse from tobacco––often in favor of smokeless nicotine vapes that may or may not be safer.

In 2019, Gallup’s “Consumption Poll” found that only 15% of Americans reported as cigarette smokers, at the time a new low and substantially lower than the 45% of U.S. adults who said they were back in the 1940s. That poll showed that 12% of Americans reported as marijuana smokers.

“Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead. This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continuing government efforts at all levels to curtail its use. Smoking remains legal in general but is prohibited in many public places, offices, modes of transportation and in private places across the U.S. Each pack of cigarettes carries draconian warning messages about their harmful effects,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote in his analysis of the latest survey.

Cannabis has perhaps never been more accessible in the U.S. and pot smokers never more ubiquitous––despite the ongoing federal prohibition.

“Despite its widespread use, alcohol’s downsides have been recognized in the U.S. for centuries. This awareness reached a climax over a hundred years ago, when the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — passed by Congress and ratified by 46 of the 48 states — banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol. While the resulting Prohibition may have actually lowered the consumption of alcohol as intended, it had numerous other unanticipated negative consequences and was repealed some 13 years after it took effect,” Newport wrote.

Gallup released findings last year that found a new high of 68% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal.

But as far as its effects, the country is split.

In the latest “Consumption Poll,” 53% said that marijuana has a positive effect on its users, while 45% said it has a negative effect.

But when it comes to marijuana’s effect on society, 49% said it is positive, while 50% said it is negative.

Gallup’s latest survey found that alcohol remains far more prevalent than either marijuana or cigarettes. About 45% said they had an alcoholic drink in the last week, while 23% said they have one occasionally. A third identified as complete abstainers.

“The future of alcohol drinking presents the most fascinating sociological case study out of the three substances. Alcohol use has been remarkably steady over the past 80 years (the time during which Gallup has measured it). In fact, alcohol has been widely used in the U.S. since the nation’s founding. Its use continues to be intertwined with many aspects of American culture, including social and — in some instances — religious rituals. Alcohol is also a major contributor to the nation’s economy. If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, then the best guess would be to predict no significant change in alcohol use going forward,” Newport wrote.

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Survey Shows Cannabis Use on the Upswing

A new survey on cannabis consumption shows that use is increasing among American adults, with nearly one in five reporting using cannabis at least three times per week. The study also found that one in eight (12%) of cannabis users reported using cannabis daily or multiple times per day, with one-third of daily users saying that they began consuming at this increased rate within the past 12 months.

The online survey explored the cannabis consumption, attitudes, and purchase behaviors of nearly 2,800 adult Americans. The poll was completed earlier this month by global public opinion and data company YouGov in partnership with Chicago-based creative services agency Receptor Brands and marketing and branding company Sister Merci.

The survey found that 19% of adults said that they used cannabis at least three times per week, which the questionnaire’s designers classified as heavy based on comparable metrics for alcohol use. Among these heavy cannabis users, 43% were women, 55% were parents, and more than half (54%) were older than 35 years old. Of those who consume cannabis daily, 52% started doing so in the last 4 years and 33% within the last year.

Nearly half of heavy users said that they would not describe themselves as a stoner. These individuals believe cannabis provides a functional benefit more than a cultural connection. Additionally, even though they are heavy users, they do not consider people who use cannabis for relaxation, sleep, or medical purposes to be stoners.

“As we witness the normalization of cannabis consumption and with 420 right around the corner, we were interested in deconstructing the outdated “stoner” trope and understanding heavy users as well as how consumption habits change over time,” said Allison Disney, partner at Receptor Brands, in a statement about the research.

Disney added that among those who used marijuana at least three times per week, “60% of them don’t think of themselves as ‘stoners.’ These consumers indicate they’re using cannabis weekly or daily for its functional benefits, such as relaxation or sleep, and many of them—especially parents of young children—stepped up their consumption within the past year.”

Preferences of Cannabis Users Examined

The survey also examined the cannabis product preferences and purchase habits of American adults. The majority of heavy users (51%) said that they purchased their cannabis from a licensed dispensary, while more than a third (38%) reported getting their cannabis from an illicit source such as unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services or underground dealers. A quarter (26%) procured their cannabis from a friend or family member’s home grow.

More than half (53%) of heavy users said that they preferred cannabis flower, while 39% said they were partial to consuming cannabis edibles. Only 14% said that cannabis beverages or drink enhancers were their favorite consumption method. More than a fourth (28%) of heavy users said they often or usually mixed more than one cannabis product, such as smoking a joint and eating an edible.

More than a third (34%) of heavy users are indifferent about whether cannabis products are made by a local brand or a company that does business across the country. A preference for local brands was most popular in the West, where more than half (53%) said that it “makes a difference if cannabis products are made by a local brand” or national operator. About a fifth of heavy users in the Northeast (21%) and Midwest (20%) said they preferred local brands, while only 15% of respondents in the South said the same.

“While many in our industry are focused on attracting new consumers to cannabis, we still have much to learn about the profiles, preferences, and spending habits of heavy users,” said Disney. “We hope to use these new insights at Receptor Brands to build the foundation for products and campaigns for a broader range of patients and customers as daily consumption becomes increasingly commonplace.”

The online survey was conducted between March 31 and April 4. The total sample size was 2,788, including 528 who used cannabis at least three times per week and were classified as heavy users. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults age 18 and up.

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Majority of Cannabis CFOs Think Biden Doesn’t Support Cannabis

Most financial leaders in cannabis don’t trust the Biden administration, new data suggests. On December 14, GreenGrowth CPAs announced the cannabis industry’s first 2021 Cannabis CFO Survey—a 22-page analysis containing business and market outlook data from over 75 cannabis industry CFOs, CEOs, founders, controllers and other financial roles in 20 markets across the United States. 

The report showed a lack in confidence about commitment on federal cannabis reform from President Joe Biden’s administration, and it provided some fascinating details of how people in financial roles in the cannabis industry differ in opinion from members of other industry sectors. 

Financial leaders were asked their perspective on the cannabis business environment, progress recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and outlook on raising capital and assessing the potential impact of the Biden administration. “The answers were volunteered by financial leaders throughout the cannabis ecosystem,” GreenGrowth CPAs Chief Marketing Officer Kristofer Lenz told High Times. “We sent emails to our internal distribution list ([over 40,000] mix of clients, prospects and folks who signed up for our newsletter), posted on social media and conducted personal outreach to industry partners who also shared within their networks.”

Notably, over 62 percent of respondents doubt support from the Biden administration. Specifically, President Biden doesn’t have a great track record on cannabis like most other members of the Silent Generation. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed last July that President Joe Biden opposes cannabis legalization—putting him at odds with top Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker.

GreenGrowth CPAs provided four highlights from the 2021 Cannabis CFO Survey:

  • 70.2 percent of cannabis operators feel the cannabis business environment is improving (but only 28 percent of cultivators agree)
  • 18.2 percent of operators are stronger financially today than before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 79.2 percent of operators are planning to raise capital, 19.5 percent through an IPO/RTO go-public transaction
  • 62.4 percent don’t think the Biden Administration supports cannabis, and 41.6 percent think we are 5+ years away from federal legalization

One problem is the difference in opinion between how cannabis operators in general feel about the health of the cannabis business environment compared to cultivators in particular. While over 70 percent of operators believe the cannabis business environment is improving, just 28 percent of cultivators agree. 

“In the last six months, wholesale prices have absolutely plummeted due to oversupply, lack of demand, a lot of other issues, and you can really see in the data, the impact it’s having,” Lenz explained. “There is the East and West divide. Essentially we’re going through this sort of peak and valley evolution in the market. When new markets come online, there’s a lot of pent-up demand, a lot of licenses.”

Lenz explained the difference between newer and older state markets. “So there’s Illinois, Massachusetts, in these sort of newer markets, where the wholesale price is high, demand is really high, and this vision of cannabis capitalism—as people are imagining it—is really thriving,” he said. “But in more states that are older, we’re seeing a valley form. It’s actually happening in Colorado, California, especially where the more and more cultivators come online, the more sophisticated those cultivation opportunities are, the more flower is hitting the market, but the demand is not necessarily catching up.”

This could be perhaps due to the “collapse” of the wholesale value of cannabis crops in California, partly due to sky-high taxes, fees and light-deprivation weed. Growers in the Emerald Triangle in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties, for instance, are calling this an “extinction event.”

The insights in the 2021 Cannabis CFO Survey were self-reported a blend of multi-state operators, retailers, cultivators and ancillary service providers throughout the cannabis industry. The report is free for download at the GreenGrowth CPAs website.

The report shows the amount of distrust with the priorities of the Biden administration among financial leaders in the industry. Keep in mind, however, that no president can directly remove cannabis from control under the Controlled Substances Act, but he could, however, order executive agencies to consider either altering the classification of cannabis or change their enforcement approach.

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Gallup Survey Shows a Large Majority of Americans Support Cannabis Legalization

Stop us if you have heard this before: a record high number of Americans think pot should be legal.

That is the chief takeaway from the latest survey released Thursday by Gallup, which found that more than two-thirds of adults in the United States—or 68 percent—support the legalization of marijuana.

The major pollster said that it has “documented increasing support for legalizing marijuana over more than five decades, with particularly sharp increases occurring in the 2000s and 2010s.” 

The majority support for legalization has been captured by Gallup since 2013, when more than 50 percent of Americans said they supported the policy for the first time.

The latest findings match Gallup’s poll from last year, which also found that 68 percent of American adults supported legalizing marijuana.

The 2020 poll, Gallup noted at the time, showed that “more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.”

Like last year’s poll, the latest survey found “solid majorities of U.S. adults in all major subgroups by gender, age, income and education support legalizing marijuana.”

“Substantive differences are seen, however, by political party and religion,” Gallup explained. “While most Democrats (83%) and political independents (71%) support legalization, Republicans are nearly evenly split on the question (50% in favor; 49% opposed). Weekly and semiregular attendees of religious services are split on the issue as well, while those who attend infrequently or never are broadly supportive of legalizing marijuana.”

The poll findings dovetail with what has been a flowering of legalization nationwide over the last decade, as changing attitudes have helped usher in marijuana reform.

More than a dozen states have now moved to legalize recreational pot use for adults, with voters in both liberal and conservative strongholds embracing the reform. Last year, voters in four states—New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota—passed ballot measures that legalized marijuana for recreational use.

As is often the case, the polling has clearly been an impetus for the policy.

Gallup Survey Matches Findings from Other Recent Polls

A poll released earlier this year from Quinnipiac University yielded similar findings to Gallup’s latest survey. 

The Quinnipiac poll found about 70 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana, which was the highest number ever recorded in a national survey.

And while the legalization measures have thus far been implemented on the state and municipal level, there are mounting signs that the federal government may be ready to follow suit.

Earlier this year, Democrats in Congress introduced the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act of 2021, or “The MORE Act of 2021,” which would “decriminalize and deschedule cannabis…provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs…provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses, and for other purposes.”

In the spring, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York stressed that Democrats are ready to move forward with legalization, citing the success of legalization on the state level.

“In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, ‘Well what changed?’ Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states—Oregon and Colorado—wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” Schumer said at the time. “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.”

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Gallup Poll Finds Almost Half Of US Adults Have Tried Marijuana

Gallup data shows that almost half of US adults have tried cannabis. 

Almost half of adults in the United States said they have tried marijuana, according to the results of a new Gallup Poll released on Tuesday. At 49 percent, the figure is the highest that Gallup has recorded in its more than 50 years of asking Americans about their cannabis use. 

When Gallup first began surveying Americans about cannabis in 1969, only four percent of adults said that they had tried marijuana. Since that time the rate has increased steadily, rising to more than 20 percent in the 1977 survey. Roughly a third of adults surveyed in 1985 said that they had tried cannabis, and by 2015 the percentage had surpassed 40 percent. Gallup noted that much of the increase in marijuana experimentation reported over the last 50 years can be explained by generational patterns in the United States.

“The oldest Americans living today, those born before 1945 whom Gallup calls ‘traditionalists,’ are much less likely than those in other birth cohorts to have tried marijuana, with just 19% saying they have done so. That compares with about half of millennials (51%), Generation Xers (49%, and baby boomers (50%),” the polling organization wrote in its report on the survey.

The generational data on marijuana use trends was taken from Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits surveys from 2015 to 2021. Gallup noted that it does not yet have enough information on the trends of Generation Z, the oldest of whom are only 24 years old now. This year’s Consumption Habits poll was conducted from July 6 to 21.

Only 12 percent of those surveyed said that they “smoked marijuana,” a percentage that has held steady since 2017. In 2013, the first year Gallup asked if respondents smoked marijuana, only seven percent replied in the affirmative. The figure rose steadily to 11 percent by 2015 before peaking at 13 percent in 2016. Gallup did not ask the poll’s respondents if they consumed marijuana in any way other than smoking.

Gallup Data: Marijuana Use Higher Among Younger Americans

While the percentage of those who said they have tried marijuana varies little among baby boomers and subsequent generations, Gallup noted that younger Americans are more likely to say that they currently smoke marijuana. The combined data from 2015 to 2021 show that about 20 percent of millenials smoke marijuana. For Gen Xers the figure is 11 percent, while nine percent of baby boomers and only one percent of traditionalists say they currently smoke pot.

In addition to differences by age, the survey revealed that the rate of marijuana use varied among other demographic groups including gender, education, and political orientation. While 16 percent of men said that they smoked marijuana, only nine percent of women said the same. Only five percent with a postgraduate education said that they smoked cannabis, compared to 14 percent of those with a four-year college degree or less education. And those who are politically liberal (22 percent) and Democrats (15 percent) were more likely than conservatives (six percent) and Republicans (seven percent) to say they currently smoked marijuana.

In its analysis of the generational patterns revealed by the survey, Gallup noted that the percentage of Americans who say they have tried cannabis might not rise much higher than 50 percent, despite the upward trend that has been recorded to date.

“The percentage of Americans who have tried marijuana has steadily climbed in recent decades,” Gallup wrote. “Soon it should reach 50 percent, but it may not get much higher than that given the rates of experimentation have been steady around 50 percent in Gen Xers and among baby boomers. Half of millennials have also tried marijuana, and with many in that group approaching middle age, that proportion seems unlikely to increase in future years.”

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