Survey: 3M more U.S. pot smokers in last decade

A man smokes a joint at a pro-marijuana "4/20" celebration in front of the state capitol building April 20, 2010, in Denver.
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WASHINGTON - A new government survey says more Americans are smoking marijuana, but other notorious illegal drugs have fallen off.

Nearly 7 percent of Americans aged 12 or older were illicit pot smokers in 2010, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released Thursday. That is 3 million more users than earlier in the decade.

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At the same time, meth use has plunged by about half and cocaine use — including crack — is down sharply in the last few years.

The annual survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also found declines from 2009 in tobacco use and binge drinking among teens.

One glaring problem: 23 million Americans needed treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2010, but fewer than 3 million received it.

This week, the Border Patrol working the Arizona desert got a firsthand glimpse into how much marijuana comes into the country. Agents seized a total of 3,200 pounds of marijuana worth more than $1.6 million.

Government agents tracking suspected illegal immigrants Sunday found six bundles weighing less than 279 pounds and valued at $139,000.

In another incident Sunday, agents responded to a detection sensor and found five bundles of abandoned marijuana weighing more than 218 pounds. The bundles were estimated to be worth approximately $109,000.

Agents also recovered bundles of marijuana during routine searches last week. One search produced 75 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,840 pounds and valued at $920,000. Another search recovered 53 packages pot worth $156,000.

Federal agents also recovered 282 pounds of pot with a value of $140,500.