One in four Americans uses cannabis, a study shows

Americans have come a long way when it comes to legalizing and using cannabis. In 1969, Gallup’s first cannabis legalization survey found that only 12% of Americans were in favor of cannabis legalization (1).

Public opinion on the legalization and use of cannabis has changed a lot since then. The legalization of cannabis is gaining momentum in the US, and attitudes towards use have changed dramatically.

Cannabis use is increasing

Recently, a national study (2) conducted by YouGov, a public opinion and data company, in partnership with Sunnyside, a national retail brand owned by Cresco Labs, found that roughly one in four Americans used cannabis in the past year.

The report also found that 23% of current cannabis users tried it for the first time in the past year. This suggests that the pandemic has helped increase public interest in cannabis use, whether for recreational or medical purposes. The pandemic also coincided with extensive bills legalizing cannabis in the United States. This has undoubtedly shaped public perception.

It’s quite a jump from 2018, when just over 15% of adults in the US reported cannabis use (3).

What does that mean?

This is a promising trend for both cannabis companies and consumers. As cannabis use increases, we can expect more innovative cannabis products to hit the market, reduce stigma on use, and improve access to disease treatment for medical users.

Of the remarkable results, Cris Rivera, Senior Vice President of Retail Marketing and Customer Experience at Cresco Labs said, “Whether it’s the stressors of a global pandemic or improved accessibility due to expanded government decriminalization, cannabis has become the leading CPG [consumer packaged goods] Category for exploration when people flock to pharmacies to discover the range of novel formats and modern products available to them. “(4)

Other notable results

Other general results of the study are:

  • 44% of American cannabis users believe that 4/20 should be recognized as a national holiday.
  • 44% of parents with underage children said they had tried cannabis for the first time in the past 12 months.
  • 43% of seniors (aged 65 and over) tried cannabis for the first time in the past year.
  • Men and women use cannabis equally.

When asked why people use cannabis, the answers consistently matched:

  • 56% use cannabis to reduce anxiety and / or stress
  • 48% use cannabis to treat insomnia
  • 48% consume it to improve their mood

And the main reason for cannabis use in all ages? Reduce anxiety and stress.

Results for 4/20 celebrations


When it comes to 4/20 celebrations, most of the people are on board. In the study, half of those questioned between the ages of 21 and 54 said that they would “try or consider” a new product on April 20th. About a quarter of men said they plan to find deals and sales on April 20, while 20% of female respondents said they plan to have a spa day.

Jason Erkes, CCO of Cresco Labs, isn’t surprised. Commenting on the 4/20 celebrations, Erkes commented, “I think this year’s 4/20 is turning out to be a perfect storm with increased consumption last year. More people are being vaccinated and comfortable around others, as well as significant numbers of new consumers entering the cannabis market. “(5)

The future of cannabis use

I suspect that with more legalization in the United States and more people flocking to cannabis amid the pandemic, use will continue to rise.

Are you surprised by the results of this study? Has your cannabis use changed during the pandemic? Let us know.

Footnote (s)

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5. = 705b710b50c2

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