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The U.S. state with the highest concentration of pot smokers

You'd think it would be Washington, Colorado or maybe California, and you would be wrong


Phillip Smith
January 11, 2015 6:00PM (UTC)
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet It's not Colorado or Alaska or Washington or any of the other usual suspects. That distinction belongs to tiny Rhode Island, according to the just released National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In the Ocean State, 15.76% of people 12 and over reported using marijuana in the past month. That's about one in six. And second place is something of a surprise, too: Runner-up honors go to the nation's capital, Washington, DC, coming in at 15.17%.

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The legal marijuana states out west generally also have high usage rates, but not as high as Rhode Island or DC. Colorado was at 14.90%, while Oregon was at 13.92%, Washington was at 13.74%, and Alaska was at 12.93%.

The national average for people over 12 reporting smoking within the past month was 9.27%—or just less than one in 10—with the highest rates in the west (11.45%) and the northeast (9.58%). The Midwest (8.84%) and the south (8.00%) reported the lowest regional rates.

In a way, it's fitting that Rhode Island comes in first. It is likely to be the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, with groups like the Marijuana Policy Project and Regulate Rhode Island nearly winning victory at the statehouse last year and poised for the final push this year.


Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent of Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has been a drug policy journalist for the past two decades. He is the longtime author of the Drug War Chronicle, the online publication of the non-profit StopTheDrugWar.org, and has been the editor of AlterNet’s Drug Reporter since 2015. He was awarded the Drug Policy Alliance’s Edwin M. Brecher Award for Excellence in Media in 2013.

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