Article by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post
Many marijuana users hide their stash in their closets. Most people who use marijuana are parents. There are almost as many marijuana users as there are cigarette smokers in the U.S.
Those facts and many more are among the conclusions of new survey from Yahoo News and Marist University, which illustrates how pot has become a part of everyday life for millions of Americans. Here are 11 charts that explain how and why.
1. Nearly 55 million adults currently use marijuana
More than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, according to the survey. Nearly 55 million of them, or 22 percent, currently use it — the survey defines “current use” as having used marijuana at least once or twice in the past year. Close to 35 million are what the survey calls “regular users,” or people who use marijuana at least once or twice a month.
Those numbers are larger than what we see in some other surveys. A Gallup poll released last year found that more than 33 million adults identified as “current” marijuana users, although it didn’t specify a time frame the way this survey did. The latest federal survey on drug use found about 33 million adults used marijuana in the past year, considerably lower than the Marist poll’s 55 million figure.
But those federal numbers are from 2015, while the Marist poll was conducted last month. Considering four more states have legalized marijuana since the federal survey was done, attitudes on use may have changed enough that more are comfortable admitting their use to a survey.
Survey mode is another potential factor: The Marist poll was done via phone, while the federal survey involved interviewers speaking with people in their homes. Considering marijuana remains fully illegal at the federal level, people may simply be more comfortable admitting their use to a voice at the end of a phone line than a representative of the federal government.
Regardless, 55 million people is a staggering number. It would mean that there are nearly as many marijuana users as there are cigarette smokers (59 million).