August 2022 Gallup Pot Poll: Americans Divided

Updated: Aug 18

A Gallup poll released on August 16, 2022 entitled "Americans Not Convinced Marijuana Benefits Society" revealed that adults in the United States are almost evenly split on their perceptions of the potential benefits and harms delivered by cannabis to both its consumers and society as a whole.


"Americans are evenly split in their views about marijuana's effect on society, with 49% considering it positive and 50% negative," reported the analytics and advisory company based in Washington, D.C. It added that Americans are "slightly more positive" about the effects of cannabis on those who use it, "with 53% saying it's positive and 45% negative."

The survey, conducted between July 5 and 26, reported that "nearly half of U.S. adults, 48%, report that they have ever tried marijuana."


More Marijuana Metrics

This number has steadily increased since 1969, when Gallup first asked this question of Americans and only four percent responded that they had sampled cannabis. Eight years later, in 1977, the positive response rate jumped to 24 percent. It climbed to 33 percent in 1985 and "crossed the 40% threshold by 2015," according to Gallup.


The number of Americans who have tried cannabis should not be confused with those who report that they currently consume the herb on a regular basis, which is 16 percent according to this poll.

The number of Americans who have tried cannabis should not be confused with those who report that they currently consume the herb on a regular basis, which is 16 percent according to this poll. This is up from Gallup's 2021 survey where 12 percent of Americans said they regularly consume cannabis.


Users More Likely to Cite Benefits

The poll revealed that 70 percent of those who have tried cannabis think that its effect on users is positive and that 66 percent think that it is positive for society overall. However, of those who have never experimented with cannabis, the opposite is true: 72 percent think that the herb is negative for those who consume it and 62 percent report their belief that it has a negative effect on society.

  • Have tried pot: 70% think it is positive for users; 66% think it is positive for society.

  • Have not tried pot: 72% think it is negative for users; 62% think it is negative for society.

According to Gallup's November 2021 survey, 68 percent of U.S. adults "think marijuana should be legal."

"Americans' ambivalence about the effects of marijuana contrasts with their widespread support for legalization," reported Gallup. According to the polling organization's November 2021 survey, 68 percent of U.S. adults "think marijuana should be legal."

Other Observations

Other notable observations of the August 2022 Gallup report include:

  • Gender: While men are "more likely than women to say they have ever tried marijuana," both men and women "are similar in their self-reports of smoking marijuana and consuming [cannabis] edibles."

  • Age: Usage rates clearly skewed higher toward younger adults. Of those 18-34 years old, 30 percent report smoking cannabis and 22 percent say they use edibles (cannabis-infused food). Of those 35-54, only half this rate, or 16 percent, reported smoking cannabis. The 55 and older crowed resulted in less than half of the 35-54 group, with only seven percent reporting smoking cannabis.

  • Education: The poll indicated that education level "is not a great discriminator in people's use of marijuana." Those with a college degree "are about as likely as those with no college education to have ever tried it or to use it currently." The organization reported that this is different than tobacco use, which has different usage rates among the two groups.

  • Political Affiliation: Varying levels of use were found among Democrats and Republicans. "Democrats and independents report similar levels of marijuana use, while Republicans are less likely to [report that they] smoke or eat it" and also "less likely to [report that they] have ever tried it."

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Conclusions

The poll concluded that Americans are split on their perception of whether cannabis consumption is good for individuals and also society overall. "This puts federal law out of step with 38 states that have now legalized [cannabis] for medical purposes, including 19 that permit it for recreational use," summarized the report.


The poll reported that the results of scientific research about the effects of the herb in humans will determine its future legal status at both the federal and state levels, "particularly if its use continues to expand."

The survey reported that the results of scientific research about the effects of the herb in humans will determine its future legal status at both the federal and state levels, "particularly if its use continues to expand."


It noted that, because younger people view the plant more favorably, "their greater tolerance may be destined to prevail over time" but that, currently, "Americans are roughly divided into proponents and detractors of the drug."


View the original poll.


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