Marijuana Use Is Up, But Not Because of Legalization

Marijuana usage in the U.S. has increased sharply since 2005, but the fact that the drug has become legal in many states is not responsible for the trend, a new study shows.

Pot smoking has nearly doubled among women, with about 10.6 percent of the adult population reporting use at least once in the past year, up from 5.5 percent in 2005.

Among men, the figure is 14.7 percent, which is up sharply since 2005 (although the figure was equally high back in the 1980s).

“Our findings suggest that U.S. society has become more tolerant and accepting of marijuana use and less concerned with risks, which has led to broader use,” the lead study author concluded.

But the study found that legalization has not caused this change, but rather is a result of it: “While it is still too early to judge the impacts of recreational marijuana legalization, it appears that the passage of these policies reflects changing attitudes towards marijuana use, rather than the other way around.”

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