Pubdate: Wed, 11 Nov 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


This week, just some cold, hard stats.

Clearly I am in support of the legalization of marijuana. And I'm 
passionate about the subject not only because I enjoy smoking weed, 
but I'd also prefer not to be arrested for buying it. Regardless, I 
try to be objective on the matter, understanding that not everyone 
likes to get high (on cannabis, anyway), and that countering decades 
of Reefer Madness may take time. So in an effort to be more neutral 
and journalistic, I'd like to let the plethora of statistics I've 
gathered speak for itself. Although numbers, of course, cannot speak.

Twenty-three states plus D.C. now allow medical marijuana, four have 
passed measures to legalize recreational cannabis, and 27 have 
decriminalized various amounts of weed possession.

Legal cannabis sales last year were $2.7 billion, $1.55 billion in 
2013. Estimates for this year are over $3.5 billion (not including 
ancillary products such as pipes, papers, grinders, vaporizers, etc.).

According to a Gallup poll taken last month, 58 percent of adults 
think cannabis should be legal, an all-time high (no pun intended). 
Last year only 51 percent were in support, and in 2010, only 48 
percent. The first time the Gallup poll asked about ganja was in 
1969, when it found only 12 percent in favor of legalizing marijuana 
(and four percent claiming to have ever tried it).

Among Americans born between 1981 and 1997 (i.e., whippersnappers, 
aka millennials), 71 percent support marijuana legalization. 
Thirty-five percent of senior citizens (65 or over) support cannabis 
reform, as do 58 percent of baby boomers. Only 29 percent of those 
aged 70 to 87 think weed should be legal.

Even though the majority support the right to smoke marijuana, they 
don't necessarily want it in their faces. According to Pew Research, 
62 percent of Americans don't want weed smoked in public, even if 
legal, and 15 percent don't want guests using it in their homes. As 
for opening a pot store in their hood? Fifty-seven percent have no 
problem with a legal cannabis business in their neighborhood.

Women hold 36 percent of the executive positions in the U.S. cannabis 
industry, as compared to 22 percent of business-executive positions 
in the nation as a whole.

Almost half of us have tried weed at some point (49 percent), and 12 
percent-around 22 million Americans-have fired up (or eaten a 
brownie) in the past year. Over the past decade, the number of adults 
who say they used pot in the previous year has doubled. According to 
the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in 2013 40 percent of teens 
said they had used marijuana-down from 47 percent in 1999, but up 
from 37 percent in 2009.

According to a 2013 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and 
Health, almost 20 million Americans are monthly marijuana users, and 
33 million try it every year. Two-thirds of those who say they use 
pot on an annual basis also report that they don't use any other 
(illegal) drugs. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse 
and Alcoholism, one in every three users experiences abuse of or 
dependency on the substance, adding up to 6.8 million Americans.

It's estimated by the United Nations that worldwide, 3.8 percent of 
the population-about 266 million adults-uses marijuana at least once 
per year, and 22.5 million smoke cannabis daily. The countries with 
the highest percentage of potheads? Papua New Guinea (29.5 percent), 
Palau (24 percent), and Ghana (21.2 percent). Italians like it a lot 
(15 percent), as do Nigerians (14 percent). Lowest on the list? Japan 
(0.1 percent) and Singapore (0.004 percent).

A nationwide survey conducted by the University of Michigan found 
that 5.9 percent of college kids smoke weed on a near-daily basis, 
and only 5 percent smoke cigarettes, marking the first time since the 
study was first conducted in 1980 that more college students smoked 
cannabis than cigarettes.

The average rolled joint contains half a gram of marijuana. Since an 
ounce is slightly more than 28 grams, you'll get almost 60 joints in 
an ounce. (Unless of course you are Snoop Dogg.)

Fifty-nine percent of Americans say that weed is easy to get a hold 
of, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among 
kids aged 12 to 17, 48.7 percent say it's easy to obtain, and for 
those 18 to 25, 75 percent do. That's an even higher percentage than 
the 26-to-34 age group; 69 percent of them said it was fairly or very 
easy to get. Among those 35 to 49, 60 percent had no trouble getting 
the ganja, while only half of those 50 or older could find a dealer.

According to the packaging, the serving size for Nacho Cheese Doritos 
is just 11 chips. Eleven.

That's a lot to think about. Oh, and #LegalizeIt.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom