Regular marijuana use on the rise, survey says

Updated 4:05 PM EDT, Thu September 5, 2013

Story highlights

About 7.3% of Americans age 12 or older used marijuana regularly in 2012, survey finds

Marijuana is legal in two states, while 20 more allow medical use

Heroin use is up 70% since 2007, according to the survey

(CNN) —  

As laws across the country become less restrictive, more Americans are reporting using marijuana regularly than ever before, according to a new survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health – the largest of its kind – is done annually. Results from the past five years have shown a steady increase in weed use. Last year was no exception.

In 2012, about 7.3% of Americans ages 12 or older reported regularly using marijuana. That’s up from 7% of Americans in 2011. Although it’s only a slight increase, the real contrast exists between 2012 and 2007, when 5.8% of Americans said they regularly used weed.

These numbers could represent an increase in use among Americans, or simply an increase in the number of people who felt OK reporting use of the drug on a national survey.

There has been a lot of attention given to marijuana in the last few years. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the federal government would no longer prosecute people who used the drug in states where it was legal – as long as there were state laws in place to keep the drug away from children.