Our beloved Bay Area has recently been crowned home to the highest concentration of marijuana smokers anywhere in the country, according to new data released Tuesday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The study found that more than 15 percent of San Franciscans over the age of 12 have smoked weed within the last month. To put into perspective that number is almost double the 7.7 percent of people nationwide who report smoking recently.
Not surprisingly, marijuana use rates are highest in the Western states and lowest in the South.
For example in the far south of Texas, fewer than 4 percent of people over the age of 12 consume cannabis monthly. This could be a main driving force behind their need to secede from the rest of the country every few years.
The data suggests there is likely a historical and regional correlation between the negative perception of weed and its usage.
People in the South told researchers that they perceived a great risk from marijuana (32 percent of respondents) while those from the West had the lowest (25.6 percent) perception of marijuana-related risk.
“We continue to see relatively wide variation in marijuana use” at the substate level, said Art Hughes, an SAMHSA statistician and a lead author on the report, in an interview. Overall marijuana usage rates are up by less than 1 percentage point since the period from 2010 to 2012, when SAMHSA last looked at these numbers.
Marijuana use in Colorado is naturally relatively high, although this is not due to recent accessibility, as people in Colorado have been consuming cannabis in high numbers for a while. “There are some states where we see rates on the high-end even before legalization,” Hughes said.
Other states that reported high cannabis usage were New York and Vermont, with modest rates being reported in the Mid-West.
If you’re looking to make a move soon, you might want to use the map below as a reference. Just saying.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.