All jokes aside about the Salesforce Tower or the Space Needle looking like big fat spliffs, it seems San Francisco, along with Seattle and Portland, really enjoy cannabis.
According to a survey by the market-research gurus at Nielsen, people in these three liberal and marijuana-friendly cities are smoking more pot than cigarettes.
According to a report in the Seattle Times, Nielsen surveyed more than 200,000 adults across the country between January 2018 and May 2019 about their cannabis use, though they did not ask if the product had been obtained legally or on the black market. Seattle, for example, was just one of three cities that showed that cannabis bias, not just because there are more pot smokers in these places but they also tend to have fewer nicotine users than other metropolitan regions around the country.
Nielsen did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
The survey shows that in San Francisco, an epicenter in a state that’s been at the vanguard of the marijuana-legalization movement since medical cannabis was first approved in 1996, is carrying on that legacy in 2019. (Washington and Colorado led the way with legal recreational cannabis in 2012.)
Results from another survey published last month in the JAMA Psychiatry journal suggests that marijuana legalization boosts overall cannabis use, and possibly even addiction, particularly among adults 26 and older. Vox reported at the time that the survey highlights “a public health downside to a policy change that now 11 states and Washington, DC, have adopted and several others are considering.”
“The consequences could be serious,” says the report. “ As Magdalena Cerdá, the study’s lead author, and her coauthors wrote in JAMA Psychiatry, “Although occasional marijuana use is not associated with substantial problems, long-term, heavy use is linked to psychological and physical health concerns, lower educational attainment, decline in social class, unemployment, and motor vehicle crashes.”
According to the Nielsen report, here’s a breakdown of the percentage of the population 18 years and older in each of the those cities who have reported using cannabis vs. tobacco in the past 30 days:
San Francisco: 16 percent compared with 13 percent
Seattle: 17 percent compared with 16 percent
Portland: 20 percent compared with 19 percent
In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first to legalize recreational use. Nine more states (plus the District of Columbia) have since since legalized recreational use: Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont. Another 22 states have legalized cannabis for medical use only. Polling shows a clear majority of Americans support legal marijuana.