Who are Cannabis users? Part 1
For better or for worse, Cannabis usage is on the rise. Studies conducted by universities, private organizations, and the government clearly depicts this trend. Or perhaps usage rates are about the same but fear about the repercussions are just lessening so people are more willing than ever to admit to smoking a little greens when the mood arises. But one fact is certain: a growing number of Americans admit to using Cannabis.
In 1996 California became the first state in the nation to legalize Cannabis usage for medicinal purposes and two years later Washington, Oregon and Alaska followed suit, kick-starting the movement which today has spread to a total of 18 states and Washington D.C. In 1998 only 33 percent of Americans surveyed for the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health claimed to have tried Cannabis or Hashish. In 2011 — the most recent year survey results are available for — 41.9 percent of Americans admitted to ever having tried Cannabis or Hashish.
Many might assume these trends come from an increase in drug use among youth and young adults, but this is hardly the case. A compilation of results from pre-employment drug screens by Quest Diagnostics shows that Americans tested positive in pre-employment drug screenings at the highest rate since 2007. In between 2011 and 2012 the rate further jumped an impressive 5.7 percent. Since employment rates are lower for youth and young adults than all other Americans under retirement age, that assumption cannot explain this trend. Plus, the national survey additionally found a jump in usage rates of Americans aged 50 to 59 from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.3 percent in 2011 as a greater percentage of older Americans consider Cannabis usage appropriate in similar contexts as one would use alcohol. This leads us to the question of who, exactly, are Cannabis users? Check back in June if you’d like a comprehensive answer to this question.