Article by Jessica Glenza, The Guardian
About 10 million more Americans smoke marijuana now than 12 years ago, a new study in the British medical journal Lancet Psychiatry has found.
The study comes as at least five states ready to vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, including California, which is considered a linchpin in the campaign for federal legalization.
“We certainly expected, based on other research, to find an increase” in marijuana use, said said Dr Wilson M Compton, an author of the study and researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s well known in the US that the laws related to marijuana have been changing; we’ve seen a number of states passing laws to allow marijuana for medical purposes.”
The study used data from 596,500 adults surveyed between 2002 and 2014 for the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health to reach its conclusions about how many Americans use marijuana.
One of the study’s key findings is that between 2002 and 2014, the percentage of Americans who said they smoked marijuana at least once in the previous year grew from 10.4% to 13.3%.
The 2.9% increase equates to an additional 10 million Americans who said they used the drug at least once in the past year, bringing the population who admitted use from 21.9 million in 2002 to 31.9 million in 2014.