Features & Columns

A Statistical Analysis of
Cities that Love Pot Most

Analysis of a new federal report shows how much people use pot in certain cities
Analysis of a new federal report shows how much people use pot in certain cities.

Where do people like to smoke pot the most? Thanks to government statistics, we have an answer.

In a new report based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number crunchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have disaggregated the marijuana-use data, providing a means of getting down to pot-smoking frequency at the local level.

Researchers found that 7.73 percent of Americans age 12 and older reported using marijuana at least once a month. Similar reports based on the data have allowed us to determine the top 10 marijuana-using states, but this time around researchers divided each state into a number of "sub-state" areas. The sub-state regions include some that have high marijuana-use levels but no cities to speak of. They don't make the list, but places like these deserve honorable mention: Alaska's North Coast (14.93 percent), Northern California (13.97 percent), southeastern Maine (13.29 percent) and northern New Hampshire (12.40 percent).

The top pot-smoking cities are burning at a rate near twice the national average:
San Francisco, 15.46 percent A half-century ago, the city was a hotbed of hippies. Now, it's a high-tech haven, but they still like to burn in Babylon by the Bay.
Denver, 14.84 percent The Mile-High City certainly lives up to its reputation as it basks in the glow of legalized weed and enjoys the benefits of marijuana tourism.
Seattle, 14.31 percent Another high-use city in another legalized state.
Burlington, Vt., 13.87 percent With the highest percentage of tokers east of the Mississippi, this sleepy progressive town has something going for it other than Bernie Sanders.
Portland, Ore., 13.32 percent The City of Roses is developing a reputation as a city that has a real yen for another kind of flower.
Boston, 13.12 percent Bostonians are toking up like they've already legalized cannabis, but that won't happen until November.
Providence, 12.77 percent Rhode Islanders like their pot. In fact, usage rates are even higher outside Providence proper.
Anchorage, 12.37 percent The Alaska Supreme Court legalized possession in 1979, but prohibitionists managed to undo that a few years later. The wheel has turned again as the state ended prohibition in 2014.


Phillip Smith is editor of the Alternet Drug Reporter and author of 'The Drug War Chronicle'