Over the last several years the use of Marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally, has seen a marked increase in support. In that time, twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) have legalized the use of medical marijuana. There have also been eight states plus D.C. that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Now a newly released Yahoo/Marist Poll shows the results of Americans changing feelings towards the drug, with the nation still being divided 49% in favor and 47% against on the matter of legalization for recreational use.

Family life and marijuana

The poll found that a majority of Americans that say that have at least tried marijuana (65%), are occasional users (54%) and are regular users (51%) are now Parents. Almost half (47%) of 'user' parents, those who use the drug at least once or twice a year, say that they have shared and/or used the drug in front of their adult children. On the flip side more than 25% of users say that they have used the drug in front of or with their parents.

However, there is still a negative stigma attached to family use of marijuana despite these numbers. A large majority (79%) says that they would have less respect for a parent who uses in front of their child. Even a majority (64%) who say they use the drug occasionally agreed with that statement.

Among those who use the drug, 95% say that their spouse or significant other knows that they use it and how often they use it. For parents, 60% say that their children know that they use the drug, while 54% say they have talked to their kids about their use of it. For adult children, 72% say that their parents know that they use marijuana.

How bad is it perceived to be?

When asked about what is the bigger health risk, respondents to the poll unanimously agreed that regular tobacco use (76%) was compared to regular marijuana use (18%). The numbers were similar with regular alcohol use (72%) with marijuana being at 20%.

According to the poll marijuana use is still the top concern for parents at 24%, followed by alcohol (22%), cigarettes (19%), sex (18%) and cheating on a test (11%).

This flips, when only accounting for parents who have used the drug at least once in their lives. They put cigarettes first at 29%, followed by alcohol (26%), sex (25%), cheating on a test (13%) and marijuana (6%).

Only 21% of Americans said that they thought it was okay for a pregnant women to use the drug to help with pain or nausea. However, when only asking those who use marijuana regularly the number jumped up to 40%.

Do all parents talk openly to their kids about marijuana?

Today, 73% of parents say that they talk to their kids about marijuana, but overall 60% of Americans say that their parents never talked to them about it, especially older Americans. Among baby boomers (51-69) 72% say their parents never talked about it and for the silent and greatest generations (over 69) it was at 95%.

Age also impacts the view on the health risks of marijuana as 35% of millennials (18-34) said it was a health risk, compared to 52% of generation x (35-50), 59% of baby boomers and 73% of people over 69.