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New Gallup Poll Shows 38% of Americans Have Tried Marijuana

Friday, August 09, 2013


A new Gallup poll released reveals that 38 percent of Americans have tried marijuana, compared with 34% in 1999 and 33% in 1985.

The latest results are from Gallup's annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted from July 10 to 14.

While the percentage of those who report trying the drug has risen slightly in recent years, Gallup reports that "before Americans' self-reported experimentation with marijuana leveled off in the 1980s, it surged in the 1970s," rising from 4% in 1969 to 12% in 1973 and 24% in 1977."

"Even as Americans' support for legalizing marijuana has doubled, and more than 20 states have loosened marijuana restrictions in various ways," Gallup found "relatively little increase throughout the past three decades in the percentage of U.S. adults who say they have tried marijuana."

Gallup Looks at Usage Trends

While more than one-third of American adults admit to having tried marijuana, a much smaller percentage admit to currently using it.

Based on a sample size of 1,055 adults, seven percent of American adults, in a separate half-sample from the one asked if they have ever tried it , said they smoke marijuana.

The poll looked at usage rates among gender, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic categories -- as well as political affiliations.

According to Gallup poll, liberals have one of the highest rates of self-reported current usage of marijuana at 13%, exceeding both moderates (8%) and conservatives (2%).

Similarly, there is a close pattern for those having ever tried it: More liberals (49%) have tried marijuana than moderates (40%) and conservatives (32%).

Gallup Conclusion

Gallup points to the findings as an indicator that the rise of medical marijuana legislation in states doesn't correlate with an increase of use overall, reporting that it "finds no...surge in Americans' self-reported experience with the drug. In fact, the percentage of young adults trying marijuana has declined since 1985."

In Rhode Island, the General Assembly enacted the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana law on January 3, 2006. This law protects registered medical marijuana patients and their caregivers from arrest and jail for growing, obtaining and acquiring cannabis.

Compassion Centers are places for patients that have qualifying conditions to obtain medical marijuana as allowed by Rhode Island law. Three compassion centers, Thomas C. Slater, Summit and Greenleaf were initially approved to be licensed by the Department. The Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence and Greenleaf Compassionate Care in Portsmouth are licensed and currently operating. The Summit Medical Compassion Center is in the process of applying for their operating license.

See how the New England states stack up below.

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In May of 2012, Connecticut changed their drug laws to expand to greater medical usages.

HB 5389 was signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) on May 31, 2012
"A qualifying patient shall register with the Department of Consumer Protection... prior to engaging in the palliative use of marijuana. A qualifying patient who has a valid registration certificate... shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner,... or denied any right or privilege."
Patients must be Connecticut residents at least 18 years of age. "Prison inmates, or others under the supervision of the Department of Corrections, would not qualify, regardless of their medical condition."
Approved Conditions: "Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome [HIV/AIDS], Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn's disease, posttraumatic stress disorder, or... any medical condition, medical treatment or disease approved by the Department of Consumer Protection..."
Possession/Cultivation: Qualifying patients may possess "an amount of usable marijuana reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability for a period of one month, as determined by the Department of Consumer Protection."
Source: Procon.org
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Maine loosend their marijuana laws back in the late 1990's. 

Ballot Question 2 was approved Nov. 2, 1999 by 61% of voters
The statute removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess an oral or written "professional opinion" from their physician that he or she "might benefit from the medical use of marijuana." The law does not establish a state-run patient registry.
Approved diagnosis: epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea or vomiting as a result of AIDS or cancer chemotherapy.
Possession/Cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. Those patients who possess greater amounts of marijuana than allowed by law are afforded a "simple defense" to a charge of marijuana possession.
Increases the amount of useable marijuana a person may possess from one and one-quarter (1.25) ounces to two and one-half (2.5) ounces. 

Amended: Question 5 -- Approved Nov. 3, 2009 by 59% of voters

List of approved conditions changed to include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's, nail-patella syndrome, chronic intractable pain, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), severe and persistent muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis.

Instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish a registry identification program for patients and caregivers. Stipulates provisions for the operation of nonprofit dispensaries.
Source: Procon.org
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Voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts went to the polls in 2012 and changed the rules for medical usage.


Ballot Question 3 -- Approved Nov. 6, 2012 by 63% of voters
Effective: Jan. 1, 2013
"The citizens of Massachusetts intend that there should be no punishment under state law for qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients, or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana...

In the first year after the effective date, the Department shall issue registrations for up to thirty-five non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers, provided that at least one treatment center shall be located in each county, and not more than five shall be located in any one county."
Approved diagnosis: "Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician."
Possession/Cultivation: Patients may possess "no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient's personal, medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty-day supply... 

Within 120 days of the effective date of this law, the department shall issue regulations defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty-day supply for qualifying patients, based on the best available evidence."

"The Department shall issue a cultivation registration to a qualifying patient whose access to a medical treatment center is limited by verified financial hardship, a physical incapacity to access reasonable transportation, or the lack of a treatment center within a reasonable distance of the patient’s residence. The Department may deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant. Such registration shall allow the patient or the patient’s personal caregiver to cultivate a limited number of plants, sufficient to maintain a 60-day supply of marijuana, and shall require cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked facility.
The department shall issue regulations consistent with this section within 120 days of the effective date of this law. Until the department issues such final regulations, the written recommendation of a qualifying patient's physician shall constitute a limited cultivation registration."

Source: Procon.org

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a distinct structure for medical marijuana usage.

In May of 2013 by Senate, 18-6 and then the House, by a 284-66 margin adopted the new structure. The law was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23, 2013.
The bill authorizes the use of therapeutic cannabis in New Hampshire, establishes a registry identification card system, allows for the registration of up to four non-profit alternative treatment centers in the state, and establishes an affirmative defense for qualified patients and designated caregivers with valid registry ID cards.

HB 573 also calls for the creation of a Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council, which in five years will be required to "issue a formal opinion on whether the program should be continued or repealed."

A valid ID card from another medical marijuana state will be recognized as allowing the visiting patient to possess cannabis for therapeutic purposes, but the "visiting qualifying patient shall not cultivate or purchase cannabis in New Hampshire or obtain cannabis from alternative treatment centers..."
Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pancreatitis, spinal cord injury or disease, traumatic brain injury, or "one or more injuries that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient's provider; and a severely debilitating or terminal medical condition or its treatment that has produced at least one of the following: elevated intraocular pressure, cachexia, chemotherapy induced anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects, constant or severe nausea, moderate to severe vomiting, seizures, or severe, persistent muscle spasms."
Possession/Cultivation: "A qualifying patient shall not obtain more than 2 ounces of usable cannabis directly or through the qualifying patient's designated caregiver during a 10-day period." A patient may possess two ounces of usable cannabis and any amount of unusable cannabis.
Source: Procon.org
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Rhode Island

Rhode Island came on board and now the first medical marijuana dispensary is now operating as of April of this year.

Senate Bill 0710 -- Approved by state House and Senate, vetoed by the Governor Carcieri. Then, the veto was over-ridden by House and Senate. 
Approved Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, or the treatment of these conditions; A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating, chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease; or agitation of Alzheimer's Disease; or any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the state Department of Health.
If you have a medical marijuana registry identification card from any other state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia you may use it in Rhode Island. It has the same force and effect as a card issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Possession/Cultivation: Limits the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown to up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of cultivated marijuana. Primary caregivers may not possess an amount of marijuana in excess of 24 marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana for qualifying patients to whom he or she is connected through the Department's registration process.
Amended: H5359  (70 KB) - The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act (substituted for the original bill) 

Allows the creation of compassion centers, which may acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers.
Source: Procon.org
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Vermont may have the most pathways to marijuana usage in New England:

Senate Bill 76   
"Act Relating to Marijuana Use by Persons with Severe Illness" (Sec. 1. 18 V.S.A. chapter 86  (41 KB) passed by the General Assembly) Gov. James Douglas (R), allowed the act to pass into law unsigned on May 26, 2004
Effective: July 1, 2004
In May 30, 2007
Approved Conditions: Cancer, AIDS, positive status for HIV, multiple sclerosis, or the treatment of these conditions if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating and produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain or nausea or seizures.
Possession/Cultivation: No more than two mature marijuana plants, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana may be collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver. A marijuana plant shall be considered mature when male or female flower buds are readily observed on the plant by unaided visual examination. Until this sexual differentiation has taken place, a marijuana plant will be considered immature. 

Amended: Senate Bill 17  "An Act Relating To Registering Four Nonprofit Organizations To Dispense Marijuana For Symptom Relief"
Signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin on June 2, 2011

The bill "establishes a framework for registering up to four nonprofit marijuana dispensaries in the state... A dispensary will be permitted to cultivate and possess at any one time up to 28 mature marijuana plants, 98 immature marijuana plants, and 28 ounces of usable marijuana."

On Sep. 12, 2012, the State of Vermont Department of Public Safety announced conditional approval of two medical marijuana dispensaries.

Source: Procon.org

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Wow...did anyone think that liberals would be larger users of marijuana by far? What a shock! Next thing you'll report on is gambling in Ricks Cafe Americana! Shocking! Liberals and dope! Shocking!

Comment #1 by Dave Barry on 2013 08 09

Bet RI is consuming more ye % as this is a totally looney state led by empty suites in the Governor's office and the GA, those folks are at the 75 to 80% user level.

Comment #2 by Gary Arnold on 2013 08 10

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