12 States Smoking the Most Marijuana

Print Email

Vermont farm house
Source: Thinkstock

3. Vermont
> Pct. using marijuana in past year:
19.8%
> Total users: 108,000 (4th lowest)
> Pct. using illicit drugs other than marijuana in past month:
3.7% (11th highest)
> Max. fine for possession:
$500,000

Of Vermonters 12 years and older, 19.8% report smoking marijuana in the past year, trailing just two other states. Like every other state on this list, medical marijuana is permitted in Vermont. There are several medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

In a report commissioned by the state, the nonprofit think tank Rand Corporation found that Vermonters likely consumed as much as 25 metric tons of marijuana and spent up to $225 million getting high in 2014 alone. The report contains a strong case for full legalization, although it also highlights conflicts that could arise with laws of neighboring states. There are nearly 40 times as many regular marijuana users within 200 miles of Vermont than there are within the state. Currently, possessing up to an ounce marijuana in Vermont can result in a $200 fine. Holding 10 pounds or more of the drug, however, is a felony and punishable by fines of up to a half a million dollars.

Oregon State Capitol, Salem
Source: Thinkstock

2. Oregon
> Pct. using marijuana in past year:
19.9%
> Total users: 649,000 (19th highest)
> Pct. using illicit drugs other than marijuana in past month:
3.7% (10th highest)
> Max. fine for possession:
$6,250

Nearly one in five people aged 12 and older in Oregon have used pot in the past year, the second largest share of any state in the country. In the last two years, 37,000 state residents aged 12 and up tried marijuana for the first time. Perhaps not surprisingly, people in Oregon are among the least likely in the country to have a negative perception of marijuana. Only 18.3% of state residents 12 years and older perceive a great risk in using marijuana once a month, far lower than the 27.8% nationwide share.

Oregon is one of four states where recreational use of the drug is legal. State residents 21 and older can possess up to 8 ounces of pot and cultivate up to four plants in the privacy of their home. Still, it is illegal to posses more than an ounce of the drug in public. Those caught with more than 4 ounces can face criminal charges, up to a year in jail, and a $6,250 fine.

In awe at Maroon Bells, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

1. Colorado
> Pct. using marijuana in past year:
21.6%
> Total users: 909,000 (13th highest)
> Pct. using illicit drugs other than marijuana in past month:
4.4% (the highest)
> Max. fine for possession:
$100,000

Perhaps it is no surprise that Colorado leads the nation in pot consumption, with 21.6% of residents at least 12 years old reporting using the drug in the past year. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, and it is one of only four states where recreational use of the drug is permitted. The state’s path towards legalization can be traced to 2005, when Denver erased penalties for marijuana possession. Led by founder Mason Tvert, the marijuana advocacy and nonprofit group, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), played a major role in changing Colorado’s laws. The group aimed to explain the facts about marijuana, particularly the drug’s safety compared to alcohol. State adults over 21 years old may now legally possess 1 ounce of marijuana. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Colorado generated $135 million in taxes and fees from all marijuana businesses in 2015.