Where do Americans hide their stash?

The top response in the recent Marist poll of over 1,000 adults?

 The dresser drawer!

The pollsters didn’t take this question a step further but if they had, I bet the most common drawer for stash placement would have been the underwear drawer.

What compels us to hide our secrets in our underwear drawer?

I always have. It’s a fascinating question….but let’s get back to the Marist poll.

Here are some other noteworthy findings:

  • 52% of Americans 18 or older have tried marijuana.
  • 22% use marijuana
  • 14% use marijuana regularly.

Please note that this poll did not take into account marijuana use among young people under 18. The numbers above reflect only a part of the picture—marijuana use among adults.  The poll, unfortunately, tells us nothing about youth.

What the poll does reveal is that marijuana is on a steady path to becoming “normalized.” Marijuana is way beyond “reefer madness.” It is quickly becoming a normal and commonplace aspect of American life.

The statistic that lifts this up most clearly concerns young adults. Of the total percentage of Americans who use marijuana, 52% are Millennials. It’s no surprise that younger adults consume marijuana more frequently than older adults. Also no surprise is that for marijuana users, marijuana is more socially acceptable and more likely to be viewed as harmless than among non-users. 83% of users believe that marijuana use is socially acceptable.

Looking to the future, we can see the trend. As Millennials and their kids become a larger and larger segment of the population, we will see wider acceptance of marijuana use.

Part of “normalization” is that a behavior cuts across society. For decades, cigarette use was “normalized;” all kinds of people smoked.

Similarly, by reviewing the poll’s demographic data, we can see that marijuana use is taking place fairly evenly across racial groups. Whites, African Americans and Latinos use marijuana at roughly the same rates. The data I could find lumped everyone else (Asians, Native Americans…) into an Other category, which is very unhelpful.

Of course, even use does not mean even or fair punishment. As I have written elsewhere, African Americans and Latinos have gone to jail in hugely disproportionate numbers for marijuana due to racial bias in our criminal justice system.

The biggest reason people gave for why they don’t use weed? Because it’s illegal. As legalization and decriminalization (which I support) spreads across the country, it seems likely that, under current conditions, the percentage of people who try marijuana will increase, use will go up, and because youth follow adults, consumption among young people will rise.

So this is all very good news for the marijuana industry.

Is it good news for the health of the American people? Outside of those who use marijuana for medical reasons, the answer is no. While a growing number of people believe that marijuana is harmless, it is not.

In conclusion here are the trends.

Marijuana normalization- UP

Marijuana use- UP

Adverse health impacts of marijuana use- UP

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