The history of tobacco use stretches back over 1,000 years. First discovered by the indigenous populations of Mesoamerica and South America, by the time settlers came to America, tobacco had been used for centuries. But tobacco’s heyday looks to be fading finally.
A Gallup poll released on August 16th indicates that a historic shift has occurred, with more Americans using cannabis than tobacco products. The polling indicates that 16% of adults currently smoke cannabis, while only 11% use tobacco.
Nearly half, 48%, of those polled admit to trying weed at some point in their lives. That, too, is a record. And just last year, only 12% of those who responded indicated that they used cannabis.
30% of those between 18 and 38 said they smoke weed, while 22% admitted using edibles. Just 16% of older Americans, those 35 to 54 years old, said they use the herb and those 55 or older who said they imbibe it amounted to only 7%.
Back in the 1950s, 45% of Americans were tobacco smokers. If you watch any movie from much of the 20th century, you will see cigarettes blazing in the hands of anyone who was presented as virile or sexy.
To quote a certain folk singer from that century, the times they are a changin.’
However, cannabis legalization activists are looking at the number of those who believe that the herb should be federally legal. That number is also historical, at 68%, more than two in three Americans. Unfortunately, our government is way behind the curve.
83% of Democrats support legalization, while only half of Republicans think cannabis should be legal, with 71% of independents supporting complete reforms. Someone needs to pass the doobie to those deniers in the GOP. They are really out of step with the rest of us; Regardless of gender, age, education, or income, most Americans now seek full legalization.
Look out, Joe Camel, you aren’t cool anymore. Time to trade that pack of cancer sticks for some of that sticky green bud and put some hemp in that hump.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle-based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian spent nearly three decades as the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, in 2016 Vivian was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.