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Marijuana: Usage Trends
Four in ten Americans have used marijuana at least once in their lifetimes. One in ten Americans reports using the drug at least once in the past year, and six in every one hundred Americans report using the drug at least once in the past month. These statistics come from the "2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)." According to the NSDUH report, 96.6 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once.
The 1999 "National Household Survey on Drug Abuse" reported that the age group least likely to have tried marijuana is people over seventy. The group most likely to have tried it is eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds. A Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey conducted in 2001 indicated that 23.9 percent, or just over two in ten people between the ages of ten and twenty-four, had used marijuana in the month before the survey took place. The 2001 survey reported that males were more likely to smoke marijuana than females, but the 2003 NSDUH report said that 53 percent of first-time marijuana users were female. The only large group showing less first-time use of marijuana was Asian Americans. Otherwise the drug is equally popular among African Americans, Caucasians, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans.
In the 2004 Monitoring the Future study, 16.3 percent of eighth graders, 35.1 percent of tenth graders, and 45.7 percent of twelfth graders reported using marijuana at least once. And despite major efforts to find and punish dealers, 73.3 percent of tenth graders and 85.8 percent of twelfth graders noted that marijuana is "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain. Clearly, it is nearly impossible to pass through high school without meeting at least one person who uses or sells marijuana.
Although the U.S. government has maintained a policy of strong opposition to marijuana use, the drug has found an appeal across generations. People attending high school in the early part of the twenty-first century are more likely to have parents who tried marijuana than people who attended high school in the 1950s or 1960s. This translates to a more tolerant attitude among some parents toward marijuana use in their children. Nevertheless, the 2003 NSDUH survey did find that lifetime use of marijuana is declining among teens.