Statistics were recently released in which it was determined that more Americans are using marijuana than ever before. It is estimated that well over 30 million Americans consume marijuana regularly. A lot of media reports are stating that it’s a huge increase compared to previous survey results. Previous survey results from over 10 years ago found that roughly 10 million less Americans listed themselves as being a mariuana user.
One media outlet, The Atlantic even broke down the rise in marijuana consumers to a daily average. That article makes the claim that 7,000 Americans every day are trying marijuana for the first time. That’s a lot of newbies! I get the methodology incorporated by the article, but I think that the figure is a big misleading.
As I recently stated in an article on Green Flower, I don’t think that the spike in numbers is reflective of people all of a sudden consuming marijuana. Rather, I think that the numbers reflect the reduction in stigma surrounding marijuana use, and that more and more people are admitting to marijuana use now that reform victories are spreading. Are there more people consuming marijuana than before? Probably. Is it 7,000 new people a day? I doubt it.
Obviously, unless someone follows every American around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there’s no way to know for sure. But I talk to a lot of people across America, and I have asked many people if they have seen a huge surge in their area of new marijuana smokers, and time after time people tell me that there aren’t that many new users where they live, but people are less bashful about admitting their marijuana use. Not the most scientific method, admittedly, but I personally think there’s something to do. By all means, disagree with me in the comments if you choose!
Below is a charge from the previously mentioned article in The Atlantic:
If you look at the red line, you will see that ‘marijuana use disorders’ have remained flat. What a ‘marijuana use disorder’ entails, I have no idea. Now look at the purple line, which represents perception of no risk of harm from marijuana use in adults. That’s the stigma going away. And even though I don’t think that 7,000 people try marijuana for the first time on any given day, I will recognize that the number of users is going up at least somewhat. But there is no fallout from it. Yet further proof that the sky hasn’t fallen!
Image source: Drug Policy Alliance