The State With the Most Marijuana Users Will Surprise You


Marijuana legality has been increasing. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Enjoying a puff off a doob is a pastime shared by many people. On the federal level in the United States, marijuana remains illegal and stigmatized as a gateway drug. That’s a bummer for a lot of users looking to peacefully imbibe, along with those seeking the herb’s medicinal benefits. The good news is there’s hope for those people. In 2016, 60% of the population claimed they were in favor of legalization.

Whether it’s being smoked, vaporized, or made into tinctures or salves, cannabis is gaining a lot of favoritism for its feel-good qualities. And the legality (or lack thereof) doesn’t seem to be stopping 13% of the United States population from playing the little puff, puff, pass game. According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these 15 states are home to the adult users (18 or older) most fond of marijuana. There are some surprising entrants on the list, including the place that took the top spot. (Hint: California is not No. 1.)

15. New York

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 15.21%

In New York, medical marijuana is approved for those with chronic illnesses and diseases. The extent of usage is limited to nonsmokable products and medications. As for illegal users, possessing over 10 pounds will land you a felony, $15,000 in fines, and the possibility of 15 years in prison. Twenty-five grams or less will only land you a $100 maximum fine.

Next: Medical marijuana is legal in this state, and recreational could be on its way. 

14. Michigan

Autumn in Traverse City Michigan

Michigan allows the cultivation of up to 12 plants. | garyrennis/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 15.21%

Michigan gave the thumbs up to medical marijuana usage for those with chronic illnesses and diseases back in 2008. For those users, it’s legal to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 plants. Although some cities in the state have decriminalized smoking pot, illegal users may still face up to $2,000 in fines and a misdemeanor or felony charge.

Next: The grass is greener on the west side. 

13. California

Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco

The state was one of the first to legalize medical marijuana. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 15.36%

The Golden State is no stranger to the Mary Jane. After all, California paved the way for the progression of marijuana legalization. The state legalized medical marijuana in 1996 and started rolling out the recreational supply in January 2018.

Next: Cowboys might need some herbal medicine. 

12. Montana

fall saturated color in Glacier National Park

Cultivating your own cannabis is legal. | ChrisBoswell/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 15.45%

Cultivating your own cannabis is perfectly legal in Big Sky Country if you’re a medical marijuana patient. On the other hand, if you’re not a medical cardholder getting caught with just one joint could land you in jail for six months. Getting busted with over 60 grams would likely result in a felony and a reservation for lodging in the state prison.

Next: People in this East Coast state enjoy a toke.

11. Connecticut

Westport, Connecticut

Nearly 16% residents were using in the past year. | Jupiterimages/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 15.68%

Since 2012, medical marijuana prescription holders have been allowed to possess a one-month supply of state-dispensed marijuana. Recreational users still haven’t received the thumbs up to partake legally, but the state does have a more lax approach to the law enforcement surrounding marijuana. Anything less than a half ounce will cost you between $150 to $500 in fines. Anything more than a half ounce will cost you a misdemeanor, a year in jail, $2,000, and of course your stash.

Next: You won’t go to jail if you’re caught with a little herb in this state. 

10. New Hampshire

New Hampshire scenery

Medical marijuana has been available since 2013. | Darren McCollester/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 17.44%

Medical marijuana has been prescribed since 2013 in New Hampshire. Those with a prescription can possess up to 2 ounces that is procured via a state dispensary. All other users are still considered illegal. Anything over three-quarters of an ounce will land you with a misdemeanor, one year in jail, and a $350 fine. Anything less is considered a civil offense and comes with a $100 fine.

Next: The Evergreen State indeed

9. Washington

Fremont Bridge Seattle Lake Washington Ship Canal Magnolia Neighborhood Aerial

Carrying more than 40 grams will still get you into trouble. | Seastock/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 17.68%

Medical usage of marijuana has been OK since 1998 in Washington. Legal recreational use of cannabis has been a thing since 2012. But it’s important to note that being caught with more than 40 grams will get you in a little bit of trouble — five years in prison with a $10,000 fine and a felony on your record kind of trouble.

Next: Will the rest of New England follow suit? 

8. Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard

Massachusetts voted to legalize marijuana in 2016. | Rolf_52/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 18.47%

In November 2016, Massachusetts residents voted to join the recreational cannabis club. What does this mean for everyone? Well, it’s fairly straightforward. As long as you’re 21 years old, you can possess up to 1 ounce of reefer with zero threat of trouble with the law. You can also grow up to six plants. Possessing anything over an ounce in public could get you in a little bit of a predicament as it is considered a misdemeanor. Your maximum penalty on that sort of situation would be a $2,000 fine.

Next: Small state, big users

7. Rhode Island

Block Island, Rhode Island

Rhode Island has voted to decriminalize marijuana possession. | randydellinger/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 19.04%

More and more states continue to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, and Rhode Island is one of them. As long as you aren’t cruising around with more than 1 ounce, you’d only be fined $150. Anything more than that, and you’re looking at a misdemeanor charge, $500 fine, and the possibility of one year in jail. The country’s smallest state does approve medical marijuana prescriptions for those in dire need of relief from pain and chronic disease or illness.

Next: This state is seeing the green roll in from marijuana.

6. Oregon

Mountain view of Mt. Hood

Close to 20% of residents use marijuana in the state. | Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 19.59%

In July 2015, Oregon legalized recreational marijuana. As long as you’re 21 or older, you can join in on the fun. The state continues to bask in the glory of the tax dollars the industry brings in. Medical remains untaxed, and patients can possess up to 24 ounces at a time. Recreational users don’t have the same leniency when it comes to possession. Anything over an ounce could get you hit with some fines and eventually jail time.

Next: All the “chowda” you could want

5. Maine

Mount Desert Island, Maine

If you’re 21, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces. | Atlantic_Adv/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 19.88%

Known for its jagged coastline, pristine wilderness, and all the seafood, Maine is just chilling all the way over there on the East Coast. The state joined the cool kid club by legalizing recreational marijuana in January 2017. As long as you’re 21, you can possess 2.5 ounces with no legal repercussions. The Pine Tree State also recognizes those in need medical marijuana prescriptions, allowing cardholders to possess 2.5 ounces, as well as cultivate their own supply.

Next: It might surprise you that this state still hasn’t legalized recreational marijuana. 

4. Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont

The governor vetoed the legalization of recreational marijuana. | Comstock/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 20.8%

Arguably one of the most granola states in the union, Vermont is still working on its recreational legalization bill after the governor vetoed the last one. As for medical, the state has been on that wagon since the law was signed in 2004. Medical cardholders can possess up to 2 ounces and cultivate their own supply. For those using the herb recreationally, be wary of possessing anything over 2 ounces. The penalty could mark your record with a big fat felony and some jail time. Anything less than 2 ounces is just a small fine.

Next: You can go to the North Pole and still get legal weed. 

3. Alaska

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Medical cardholders can possess up to an ounce. | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 22.31%

In February 2015, Alaska’s legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect. If you’re 21 or older, you can have up to 4 ounces in your home and cultivate up to 25 plants. Medical cardholders can possess up to 1 ounce and cultivate six plants at a time.

Next: You probably thought this state would be No. 1. 

2. Colorado

Colorado is surprisingly not No. 1. | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 23.57%

You thought Colorado would be No. 1, didn’t you? Close, but no cigar. It’s business as usual for Colorado. Residents have been enjoying all the weed they could ever want for years now. Medical cardholders and recreational users alike have been somewhat of the guinea pig in the legalization realm. Luckily, legalization looks good on Colorado. The state has set the example for just how prosperous the weed business can be. From the tax dollars to the tourism dollars, Colorado appears to be doing mighty fine.

Next: How is this even possible? 

1. District of Columbia

Washington DC, USA skyline

The District has the highest percentage of users in the country. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Percent using marijuana (from 2014 to 2015): 23.9%

Alright, so it’s not an official state, but it’s our nation’s capital. Does anyone else find it absurdly ironic that the federal government doesn’t recognize legalization, but D.C. has managed to give it the thumbs up? If you’re 21 or older, you can possess up to 2 ounces and cultivate up to six plants for recreational good times. Medical cardholders may also posses up to 2 ounces at a time.

Read more: Marijuana: 15 Cities With the Most Pot Users

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