With all the talk of marijuana legalization in the United States, it can sometimes seem like marijuana use is rampant across the country. It’s true that more states than ever now offer legalized recreational pot, but there are also a handful of states where it seems unlikely that they’ll ever pass a law to allow marijuana — whether it’s for recreational or medicinal purposes.
According to Gallup polls, the number of American adults who smoke marijuana has been increasing over the past three years, from 7% in 2013 to 13% in 2016. It’s hard to tell whether that number is increasing because more adults are actually smoking weed, or if people are more willing to admit they use marijuana as the stigma for doing so fades. Overall, 43% of Americans admit to having tried cannabis at some point in their lives.
Still, some cities and states have more pot users than others. It goes without saying that states that have legalized recreational cannabis tend to have higher concentrations of people who use the drug, but even those states have hot spots with a higher percentage of users.
Marijuana use nationwide: City and regional hotspots
To get an idea of which cities and regions in the United States have the most marijuana users, we took a look at data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. The organization gathered data from 204,000 people ages 12 and older from 2012 to 2014 across the nation, asking them about a variety of behaviors including marijuana use. SAMHSA then outlined the regions in each state where pot use was the highest, based on people who said they had used cannabis in the previous month. Though some of those regions are reported as regions in the state, we took at look at the largest cities in those areas to determine the locations where marijuana use is the highest in the nation.
Nationwide, an average of 7.73% of people ages 12 and older had admitted to using marijuana in some form in the previous month. In each of these top cities, that percentage is well above that benchmark, and in several cases is more than double the national average. Keep in mind that SAMHSA’s report deals with percentages, meaning that a smaller city could make this list if a greater ratio of marijuana users live there. However, some of the cities on the list have a high percentage paired with a large population, meaning the use of marijuana in those locations is truly significant.