According to Gallup – How many Americans Smoke Weed?
According to a recent Gallup Poll – 12% of US adults say that they smoke cannabis. When the question, “Keeping in mind that your answer is confidential, do you, yourself smoke marijuana?” was asked in 2013 – only 7% of adults claimed that they smoke.
With it currently polling at 12% means that it has been steady for the past three years with 13% , 12% [2017-2019]. This despite the fact that more states have been legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis. However, one must also consider that a Gallup Poll is only a “Sample Space” of the general public. The number could very well be higher. In fact, it almost certainly is higher than estimated on the Gallup.
If we consider that 1 in five adults live in some sort of legal cannabis state – the odds of them smoking cannabis on the regular sits at roughly 20%. However, this is only true if those one in five adults living in cannabis states “smoked” cannabis on the regular.
But then, could the percentages have changed if you framed the question differently?
Let’s take a look at the question…
I’m sure there’s a couple of you reading this thinking, “12% seems a bit low”, and I am on board with you on that.
If 97% of the U.S Population is on board with medical cannabis, one would imagine that more than 1/10th of the population would be consuming cannabis.
Then – when you take a closer look at the question you begin to understand the limiting vocabulary within the premise.
“Keeping in mind that your answer is confidential” is meant to inspire “confidence”, however, it also indicates that “you might have something to hide”. Why would something as natural as “smoking marijuana” require confidentiality when disclosed? What’s wrong with smoking marijuana?
The intention of the question might have been pure initially – wholeheartedly providing a “safe space” for people to talk about their consumption habits without being judged – however, one cannot deny the underlying subtle suggestion that “what you’re doing is wrong!”
Nonetheless, the actual question doesn’t do much more to prompt the reader to provide an accurate account of their consumption habits.
“Do you, yourself smoke marijuana?”
How am I supposed to answer that? Do I, myself smoke marijuana? That depends whether I’m myself for the evening or somebody else? And what is the definition of self in this context…sometimes I like to talk in a made up middle-eastern accent.
But all joking aside…the question in itself is quite limiting.
Not everybody “smokes” marijuana. Some people vaporize it, others exclusively eat it, while others still only utilize essential oils.
Smoking is limited only to those who consume “flower”, whether in joints, pipes, bongs, etc. What about the medical patients? Who might not be utilizing cannabis for recreational purposes – but some of those medical patients consume far more weed than other recreational users – so, they might be medicating but they are still consuming exuberant amounts of dank on the daily. Some medical patients’ tolerance would give the Dogfather a run for his money.
The point I’m trying to make here is that – even if we remove medical cannabis from the equation – if the question was framed correctly we would probably see a higher number.
Do you consume cannabis or cannabis related products? Including CBD?
If you frame the question like that, what would you expect the percentage to be? In all likeliness, far higher than 12%.
I hope by now you’re seeing where I’m going with this. The question in itself influences the data obtained from the poll. It seems that what Terrence Mckenna said, “The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” – seems to be true in the case of Gallup polls at least.
What does this mean?
Let’s ignore all the naysaying and take the Gallup Poll at face value – some people are going to do that anyhow. There are two major ways you could interpret the Gallup Poll;
- Cannabis use seems to have topped out [for now] at 12% for the past four years
- Over the past decade cannabis use increased by almost 10%
Both interpretations would be “correct” depending on how you frame the question.
It’s important to dismantle these “factoids” thrown at us by the mainstream media in order to not operate under misinformation or “false realities”.
You might think, “C’mon Reginald – how could thinking that 12% of the US adult population smoking weed influence my reality?”
To this I say – your beliefs dictate your behavior. 12% is either a little or a lot depending on how you frame the number – however, how accurate is it truly in correlation with “what’s really going on?”
If Fake news, Russian bots and all the hoohah of this year is going to be thrown into your consciousness – at the very least you should exercise a healthy dose of skepticism to everything you read – including this post!