States like Colorado and Washington are making waves in the cannabis industry. Not only do both of these states have very liberal laws when it comes to marijuana use, but both have pioneered the setup and management of recreational dispensaries. But, while the people in these states may consume a lot of weed, they aren’t the only ones by far.
Just because marijuana isn’t totally legal everywhere, doesn’t mean it’s not popular. People all over the country consume marijuana on the regular. A article published by 24/7 Wall St reveals just how much weed is smoked in the United States by reviewing those with the highest rate of marijuana consumption.
The analysis took into account every individual in each state, 12 years old and up, who admitted to consuming marijuana at least once a year. Remember, this cannabis census depends on the word of individuals, so it may not be a 100% accurate representation of just how much weed is smoked in each of these states. Still, it’s pretty interesting to see some decent figures that detail where pot use is highest.
#10: New Mexico
Around 15.6% of New Mexicans enjoy the occasional hit of ganja and a good portion of these people are medical marijuana patients. In 2007, New Mexico did away with the harsh penalties that people who use marijuana for medicinal purposes could have faced and approving it for those suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, and a host of other conditions.
#9: New Hampshire
New Hampshire comes in at a respectable 17.1%, especially given the fact that marijuana is only legal for those who have been diagnosed with one of the select “serious medical conditions.” New Hampshire residents who don’t fit this bill and still choose to consume marijuana, risk a hefty $2,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail. Hopes are high that they will loosen up on some of their marijuana laws though, as they’re the only state in New England that has yet to decriminalize possession of the plant.
At 17.6%, it’s clear that residents of the Bay State are big fans of bud. And why shouldn’t they be? With medical marijuana available to those with certain medical conditions, and decriminalization in effect for everyone else, the worst that can happen (if caught with less than an ounce) is a $100 fine. Be careful though Massachusettsans; being caught with more than an ounce could result in big fines, jail time, and criminal charges.
#7: Rhode Island
18.7% of Rhode Islanders consume marijuana at least once a year, and many much more frequently. Medical marijuana has been legal for approved conditions since 2006, allowing those who qualify to have up to 2.5 ounces on them at once. Dispensaries started opening in 2009 and the public perception of marijuana has been changing since then. In fact, only 20.9% of Rhode Islanders are of the opinion that consuming marijuana poses serious health risks; one of the lowest rates in the country.
The people of Maine like marijuana, a lot. In fact, they prefer it to almost anything else. 19.4% of Maine residents have smoked marijuana in the last year and 12.6% admitted to using it in the last month. Those with certain medical conditions have been able to freely use marijuana since 1999.
Maine also has very lax possession laws, allowing any resident to keep up to 2.5 ounces of weed on them without fear. Just about the only way to get in trouble for pot possession in Maine is to have over 20 pounds of the stuff, in which case you could face a $20,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.
The first state on our list that allows both medical and recreational marijuana, is good ole’ Washington State. Medical marijuana has been allowed since 1998 and recreational since 2012. Still though, marijuana use in The Evergreen State is lower than one might expect, at just 19.5%.
Washington has been one of the few states to accomplish the feat of successful recreational legalization based on the belief that, while marijuana may not be considered “safe”, not regulating and controlling it could potentially be quite dangerous. Smart move Washington, smart move.
Now, technically, Alaska and Washington are tied for spots number four and five because 19.5% of Alaskans have used cannabis in the last year. And honestly, given the climate, it’s kind of surprising that number isn’t higher. What’s really surprising is that in the last two years, for 7,000 of those people, it was their first ever experience with weed.
Adult Alaskans over the age of 21 are allowed to grow 6 of their own plants and can possess up to an ounce at a time. This is a trade off though, as penalties for possessing more than the legal amount are very high. Just 4 ounces of weed can land you in deep trouble, facing felony charges, a $50,000 fine, and up to five years in jail.
Medical marijuana is legal in Vermont for those diagnosed with one of the qualifying medical conditions and about 19.8% of Vermonters enjoy marijuana in some capacity. Earlier this year a bill made its way into the Vermont House that would have paved the way for full legalization. Unfortunately, that bill was drastically overhauled and will likely become one that addresses additional decriminalization efforts in the state.
It’s a shame, given that a study published by the Rand Corporation reports that in 2014, Vermont citizens spent somewhere between $125 and $225 million on getting high off of roughly 15-25 metrics tons of marijuana. Despite evidence that recreational marijuana laws would be a huge cash cow for the state, it may be a while until they pass any legislation. In the meantime, Vermonters who possess an ounce of weed could be fined $200 and those with 10 pounds or more can face felony charges and fines up to $500,000.
At 19.9%, Oregon is second in the country when it comes to marijuana consumption. They also have one of the lowest percentages of residents who believe that marijuana is risky, at just 18.3% of their population. Both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Oregon, though there are different possession laws for what you can have at home versus what you can have in public.
Oregon residents are allowed to grow 4 plants and possess 8 ounces of weed in their own homes, but it is illegal to hold more than an ounce in public. Visitors are only allowed to possess one ounce period and anyone found with more than 4 ounces in public could be sentenced to a year in jail and be made to pay a sizeable $6,250 fine.
Whenever you hear about marijuana on the national news, you can almost bet that whatever person they’re interviewing, whatever dispensary they’re visiting, whatever city thier stock footage is from, is in Colorado.
The Centennial State may not have been the first to legalize medical marijuana, but it tied with Washington when it came to pulling the trigger to legalize recreational weed. Only two years after the first dispensaries opened for business, Colorado has more dispensaries than 7-11, McDonald’s, and Starbucks combined. Currently, residents and visitors alike can legally purchase and carry an ounce of weed on them, to be consumed only on private property of course.
As of the time of writing, at least 21.6% of Colorado Residents have smoked, vaped, or eaten marijuana in the past 12 months. Bear in mind, these figures don’t take into account the hundreds of thousands of visitors that flock to Colorado each year to bask in weed’s legal glory. Everyone wants to get in on the action in The Highest State and, if the number of transplants flocking to Colorado is any indicator, it’s a fact that’ll probably keep us at #1 on this list for a long, long time.