Gallup Poll: Legalizing Pot May Lead To Higher Usage

Alissa Lopez | August 9, 2016
Font Size


According to a study conducted by Gallup, the number of Americans who currently smoke marijuana has nearly doubled since 2013.

In July of 2013, only 7 percent of Americans reported in telephone interviews with Gallup researchers that they, at the time, smoked marijuana. But in 2013, only two states - Colorado and Washington State - had legalized the recreational use of weed.

But within three years, that number has increased from two to four states, plus the District of Columbia.

From Governing Magazine:

In Alaska, adults 21 and older can now transport, buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants. Oregon voters approved a similar measure allowing adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public and 8 ounces in their homes, set to take effect July 1. Colorado and Washington previously passed similar ballot measures legalizing marijuana in 2012.

In July of 2015, the percentage of individuals who reportedly smoked marijuana at the time had risen to 11 percent. Now in 2016 the number has increased further to 13 percent.

While correlation does not mean causation, this gradual rise in marijuana usage is questionable.

Last December, the Denver Post reported on a survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that evaluated the state of Colorado and it’s recreational marijuana usage. That document revealed that “Colorado leads all states in regular marijuana use among youth.”

“In Colorado especially, Big Marijuana has been allowed to run wild, and it appears that kids are paying the price more than in any other state in the country,” Sabet, a former White House drug advisor, added.

That information, along with the data collected by Gallup, support the theory that the legalization of commercialized marijuana does lead to higher usage rates. So if all 50 states were to follow Colorado and Alaska in legalizing pot, we can expect an increase in youth that smoke the drug.