Anyone searching for evidence of the rising acceptance of marijuana need look no further than Google.
According to data from Google Trends, the number of searches for cannabis rose by 75% between 2004 and 2016.
Similar increases have happened for terms such as “recreational legal marijuana” and the question, “Where is marijuana legal?”
The increase in Google searches correlates with the acceptance of legal marijuana by voters. Residents of 23 states and the District of Columbia have made medical marijuana legal. The District of Columbia has also made recreational marijuana legal, as have four states: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
Google Searches Increase as Marijuana Acceptance Growing
In addition to the searches and the votes for legalization, recent studies also have shown that marijuana use continues to grow among adults in the United States. At the same time, fears about the frequent use of marijuana have declined.
A recent example of this comes from a study published earlier this year. Five medical professionals conducted the study, all of them associated with either the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The study found the following trends:
- The number of adults who used marijuana increased from 10.4 percent to 13.3 percent from 2002 to 2014.
- The number of those who have concerns about the risks of using marijuana once or twice weekly fell from 50.4 percent to 33.3 percent between 2002 and 2014.
- The changes in attitude began to occur most significant starting in 2006, with the sharpest changes happening as legalization efforts have proven successful across the country.
Regions with Biggest Interest
Not surprisingly, most of the searches for cannabis and marijuana have originated in states where voters made cannabis legal, according to Google Trends.
For example, most of the searches for cannabis have been done by people in Colorado and Washington. Alaska also ranks in the Top 10 states for searches on cannabis. California, where voters have approved medical marijuana and will decide on legalizing recreational marijuana in November, also has enough searches to reach the Top 10.
However, some other states where recreational marijuana has not become legal also have enough residents searching for cannabis to qualify for the Top 10. They include Maine, Michigan, Vermont, Rhode Island, Nevada and New Mexico.
Another bit of interesting data from Google: the state where people conduct the most searches for “recreational marijuana states” is Florida, followed by Illinois, Texas, New York and California. None of those states currently allow legal recreational marijuana.
Overall, the data shows a rising interest in legal cannabis both in and out of regions where voters already have made it legal. All in all, trends from these various sources show a clear movement toward both interest in and acceptance of legal medical and recreational marijuana.