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One in Four Americans Would Try Cannabis If It Were Legal in Their State

Last February, PSB, on behalf of Civilized, conducted an online survey with 1,004 adults in the United States and 600 adults in Canada to explore the views North Americans have about using marijuana. The survey groups were made up of both cannabis users and non-users, and they were asked about their opinions about cannabis legalization, their usage habits, and other marijuana behaviors.

On the U.S. survey, we asked respondents “If cannabis were legal in your state, would you consume it?” and found that nearly one in four Americans would use marijuana if it was legal in their state. More specifically, 23% of U.S. participants said they would consume cannabis if their state gave it a legal status, up 1% from the 2017 Civilized/PSB survey.

The results of our survey are similar to those of other polls taken in recent years. For example, a 2016 study led by Mike McLaughlin, a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Public Health, and presented at the American Public Health Association that year found that 20% of participants said they would use cannabis regardless of the herb's legal status in their state. In that study, 26% of respondents said they wouldn't use cannabis even if it was legal in their state, but 54% said other factors and specific scenarios, like whether or not an employer has a policy against using marijuana outside of work or if their state keeps records of marijuana sales, would impact their decision about whether or not to partake of the herb.

However, a 2017 Gallup Poll found that only one in eight Americans smoke marijuana, with 12% saying they now smoke the herb. That survey did not take into account whether cannabis was legal in the respondents' state or ask if participants consume cannabis in other ways other than smoking.

Our finding that one in four Americans would use cannabis if it was legal in their state was not surprising given last years' results, and we think that as more U.S. states give cannabis a permitted legal status, either as a recreational privilege or limited to medical use, more American citizens will be open to trying marijuana.


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