Four in 10 Americans admit to using marijuana

MJ usage infographicThe latest issue of CESAR FAX reports findings from a recent Gallup Poll where more than 1,000 Americans were asked if they have ever tried marijuana. Since California became the first state to allow the medical use of marijuana in 1996, public perceptions of marijuana have changed substantially. Today, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in several states and opinions about marijuana’s benefits and side effects vary greatly. One thing is certain – Americans are more open to expressing their thoughts about the drug than ever before.

The poll tracked trends for the past five decades. Here are some key findings:

  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to say they’ve used marijuana.
  • Adults who earn less than $30,000 a year are most likely to say they currently use marijuana.
  • Americans with graduate degrees are less likely to say they are current users compared to those with college degrees.
  • Adults between the ages of 30 and 64 are most likely to say they have tried marijuana.
  • Although baby boomers accounted for the highest increase in admitted use between 1969 and 1973, they are the least likely group today to say they have ever tried marijuana.

Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug. Data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ showed that marijuana positivity in the general U.S. workforce increased 14.3%– from 2.1% in 2013 to 2.4% in 2014. The 40 percent of Americans admitting their marijuana use to Gallup include people from all walks of life, many of who are currently employed.

Employers should take note as drug use continues to rise. For that reason, establishing a drug free workplace program can help to prevent the hiring of drug users while deterring use among current employees. Despite state legislation and shifting attitudes towards the drug, marijuana remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance under Federal law, it continues to present  an ongoing challenge to regulate, and, contrary to popular belief, it is not safe.

CESAR FAX provides a monthly, one-page summary of timely substance abuse trends and news.

Read our popular blog post about 10 facts employers should know about marijuana.

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