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4. MARIJUANA AND HASHISH USE

In 1995, an estimated 9.8 million Americans were current (past month) marijuana or hashish users. This represents 4.7 percent of the population aged 12 and older.

Marijuana is by far the most prevalent drug used by illicit drug users since approximately three quarters (77 percent) of current illicit drug users were marijuana or hashish users in 1995. Because of this, trends and demographic differences are generally similar for any illicit use and marijuana/hashish use.

Between 1994 and 1995 the rate of marijuana use among youths age 12-17 increased from 6.0 percent to 8.2 percent, continuing a trend that began during 1992-93. Since 1992, the rate of use among youth has more than doubled. Similar trends are evident among both boys and girls; among whites, blacks, and Hispanics; in all four geographic regions; and in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas (Figure 6).

Frequent use of marijuana, defined as use on at least 51 days during the past year, remained unchanged from 1994 to 1995 at just over 5 million users (5.3 million, 2.5 percent of the population in 1995) but was significantly lower than in 1985, when there were an estimated 8.4 million frequent users (4.4 percent of the population).

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