With Liberalized Laws, Young Adult Marijuana Use Plummets

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director August 5, 2013

    According to polling data released this week by Gallup, 38% of Americans admit to having smoked marijuana in their lives. This rate remains relatively unchanged from Gallup’s previous surveys on this question. 34% responded in the affirmative when asked in 1999 and 33% in 1985.

    What is significant about this data is that, while total use had risen very slightly, use among 18-29 year olds has fallen 20% since 1985. In 1985, 56% of 18-29 year olds admitted to having tried marijuana, which dropped to 46% in 1999 and is now down to 36%. This decrease has occurred while twenty states approved medical marijuana legislation, sixteen states have decriminalized possession, and two states have fully legalized marijuana. The threats of skyrocketing young adult use seem incredibly unfounded when it appears the current trajectory towards marijuana legalization has had the opposite effect.

    Gallup found use rates among 50 to 64 year olds has gone from 9% in 1985 to 44% today. These findings seem to show that as those who came of age in the 1960’s and 70’s get older they are continuing or returning to their cannabis use.

    You can view the full survey here.

    A 2011 Gallup poll found that a record high of 50% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

    25 responses to “With Liberalized Laws, Young Adult Marijuana Use Plummets”

    1. Ben says:

      Makes sense…

      Kids who are looking to rebel or individualize themselves are not all that keen to do what responsible adults do.

    2. trlrprkcon says:

      I’m one of the old guys and I’m in pain…..all the time. I don’t want to be a pill junkie as the doctors have tried to make me. I quit pain management after trying weed for the first time in 30 years because it makes the pain more tolerable than those FUCKING PILLS…..sorry.

    3. jj says:

      So…im glad about the report but this websites main article should be about how the Dea is taking info from the nsa and using it to bust people…..more specifically drig dealers and isers

      [Paul Armentano responds: We have publicized this story on our Facebook page.]

    4. jj says:

      Drug dealers and users….sorry…big fingers

    5. Ewoja John says:

      De-Criminalize Marijuana ,, there’s a Difference …..

    6. Just Legalize It says:

      I have a question. Would it be possible to sue the government over THC’s Schedule I status? Given the known medicinal properties and the availability of Marinol in the US and other, non-synthetic and more successful cannabis based drugs elsewhere, wouldn’t it be impossible for someone to defend the schedule I status?

      If THC was no longer in Schedule I, then cannabis can no longer be either.

      Perhaps more focus should be on rescheduling THC itself.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Rescheduling efforts have been unsuccessful, most notably a 16-years effort by NORML. The most recent rescheduling effort was rejected by the Courts in January: http://blog.norml.org/2013/01/22/federal-court-of-appeals-denies-petition-to-reschedule-marijuana/.%5D

    7. Just Legalize It says:

      This speaks very loudly because even where the laws are not changing, the view of marijuana by the general public is becoming more relaxed and you would expect more accurate results because of that.

      I took my first puff at 22. It was always around me growing up and I remember my father telling me several times “if you are going to smoke anything, smoke weed because at least you get something from it.”

      It was not a forbidden fruit. I was a pain as a child. When my parents told me not to do something, I took it as a challenge and in no way saw it as a command or order. Maybe it was because of the unmedicated ADHD.

      If marijuana is so bad, why doesn’t the government put it in Schedule II, with methamphetamine, and let all the subsequent studies show how bad it is?

    8. Joel: the other Joel says:

      What this data seems to show that it is fun to smoke it and fun to stop without the propaganda bullshit,the threat of jail, the loss of money and home, and your favorite family dog.

    9. Anon says:

      and yet another support structure in their house of cards comes loose and soon those above and below will give way as well

    10. i never stopped, just about everyone i know gets high, some of us for 40 years or more…