Princeton, NJ: Self-reported use of marijuana by young adults has fallen dramatically in recent decades despite the liberalization of state marijuana laws, according to survey data published this week by Gallup.
According to the survey, 36 percent of Americans between the age of 18 and 29 have tried cannabis. That percentage is a marked decline from previous decades. In 1977, 56 percent of those between the ages of 18 to 29 reported consuming cannabis. A similar percentage reported using the plant in 1985, during the height of the Nancy Reagan 'Just Say No' era. In 1999, 46 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 reported using pot.
Since 1996, 20 states have enacted laws allowing for the physician-authorized use of medical marijuana. Two states have legalized the plant's broader use by adults. Several other states, including California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, have decriminalized marijuana possession offenses in recent years.
While self-reported marijuana use by young adults has declined, consumption by older Americans has increased. Among those Americans age 65 and older, self-reported use of cannabis rose from three percent in 1999 to 17 percent today. Among those aged 50 to 64, self-reported cannabis use doubled from 22 percent in 1999 to 44 percent today.
Overall, Gallup reports that 38 percent of Americans 18 and older have now used marijuana, up from 34 percent in 1999.