September 25, 2012

Monthly Marijuana Use Up 3%, Nearly Half A Million Are AARP-Eligible

September 25, 2012
NSDUH-2011

NSDUH-2011Over 16 million voting-age American adults will use marijuana monthly, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use & Health for 2011, released today by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration.

In 2010, the survey estimated 15.6 million Americans aged 18 and older had used marijuana in the past month, a figure that has increased by 498,000 to now 16.1 million regular cannabis consumers.  This represents 6.77% of all American adults who are considered criminals every month under state and federal law, or one out of every fifteen citizens aged 18 and older.

Age Group2010 Monthly2011 MonthlyChange
18-298,213,0008,622,000+409,000
30-495,220,0004,811,000-409,000
50+2,173,0002,671,000+498,000
50-541,072,0001,129,000+57,000
55-59598,000855,000+257,000
60-64316,000392,000+76,000
65 or Older187,000295,000+108,000

Surprisingly, the growth in marijuana smoking appears to be solely dependent on the increased use of cannabis by older Americans. A gain of 409,000 new monthly marijuana smokers in the 18-29 age group was cancelled out by a decline of 409,000 in the 30-49 age group. The increase of 498,000 adult marijuana smokers comes from the age group 50+. Increases were also found at every sub-group of the 50+ cohort as well.

Among white people, monthly marijuana smoking remained steady and fewer African-Americans (-3.1%) are consuming marijuana monthly.  Monthly use among Asian-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos is up over 18%.  However, monthly use by Asian-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos is relatively less than those groups’ representation in America.  Asian-Americans make up 5% of the population but only 2% of monthly marijuana smokers.  Hispanics/Latinos make up 16.7% of the population but only 12.8% of monthly marijuana smokers.

Midwest+6.6%1 medmj state
Northeast+4.6%2 medmj states, 3 pending
South+2.9%0 medmj states, 2 pending
West+0.2%10 medmj states
* pending = passed, but not implemented yet

Georgaphically, monthly marijuana use seems to be increasing more in regions of the country without medical marijuana laws.  The Midwest (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, & SD) has seen the greatest monthly use increase 6.6% or 210,000 more monthly tokers, despite having only one active medical marijuana state (Michigan).  Increases of 4.6% were found in the Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT, NJ, NY, PA) with only 2 active state programs and monthly use is up 2.9% in the South (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, VA, WV, AL, KY, MI, TN, AR, LA, OK, TX) with no active programs.  Yet in the West (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY, AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), the birthplace of medical marijuana, where 10 of the 13 states have active medical marijuana programs, seven of them for over a decade, monthly use has held statistically steady (+0.2%), which may actually be a decline when population increase is factored in.

Annual use of marijuana among adults aged 18 and older has now reached 26.1 million, an increase of 296,000 from the previous year.  The number of adults aged 18 and older who have tried marijuana in their lifetime has now reached 103.4 million, representing 43.5% of all voting-aged adults in America.

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