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Friday, December 9, 2022

Almost half of young Americans use marijuana

Consumption in the US may have hit an all-time high, federal data shows

More than two-fifths of young Americans report using marijuana ‘on occasion’, according to federal data published earlier this year. With nearly half of adults saying they’ve tried the drug, and the Biden administration’s announcement of a blanket pardon for those convicted of possessing it, reversing decades of federal prohibition, cannabis is finding unprecedented acceptance in a country that once exported its ‘war on drugs’ around the globe. 

Cannabis use has reached an all-time high in the US, with a 2021 Gallup poll showing 49% of American adults had tried it in their lifetimes, and that number is only expected to grow. Around 43% of men and 42% of women between 19 and 30 have used it in the past 12 months. In Vermont, which has long allowed medical cannabis use but just legalized it for recreational use this month, there are more users than abstainers under 30.

Five more states are poised to legalize recreational cannabis use in the midterm elections. If those measures pass, it will be legal for about half (49%) of the US population, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) told The Hill on Tuesday. Perhaps unsurprisingly, legalization correlates with increased consumption – by a margin of about 20%, according to research published last month, while another study found a 25% spike. Accordingly, in Texas, where the drug is still totally illegal, just 13% of adults and 26% of young people reported use within the previous year, federal data shows.

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While the numbers appear to show marijuana use at an all-time high among Americans, increased self-reporting is also a product of the demise of the stigma (and legal penalties) associated with being a user. Merely possessing small amounts of the substance has landed people in prison for decades – even through the 1990s, with the help of then-US Senator and current President Joe Biden’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

The marijuana boom has allowed patients with difficult-to-treat medical conditions like cancer or epilepsy to access what could be life-saving medicine without risk of prosecution or social stigma. However, some medical professionals fear the risks associated with cannabis have been minimized in the rush to overcorrect for a century of prohibition. A 2013 federal report found as many as 30% of regular users may be diagnosable with “marijuana use disorder,” meaning their drug use interferes with daily activities. The drug is “about as addictive as alcohol,” psychiatrist Christian Hopfer told The Hill, and potency has increased enormously.

https://ift.tt/LI1vwxr 18, 2022 at 10:25PM
from RT – Daily news

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