If you’re out and about in Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco, you’ll probably have more luck scoring a toke than bumming a smoke.
That’s according to fresh market research data from Nielsen, which measured the ubiquity of marijuana and nicotine in various United States metropolitan areas.
The data, which was detailed in a story published last week by the Seattle Times, showed that in those three aforementioned cities, cannabis is actually more popular than nicotine use. That may not come as much of a surprise, given the cultural makeup of those areas, as well as the laws in the states where they are located. In 2012, Washington (along with Colorado) became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Voters in Oregon and California followed suit by passing legalization measures of their own in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
The Nielsen research found that 20 percent of adults in Portland said they had consumed cannabis in the last 30 days, compared with 19 percent who reported using nicotine in the same time frame. In Seattle, 17 percent said they used cannabis, compared with 16 percent who used nicotine, while in San Francisco 16 percent consumed cannabis and 13 percent used nicotine products.
While those were the only three metro areas where Nielsen found marijuana more popular than nicotine, the findings are in line with larger nationwide trends. A survey released this summer by Gallup showed that marijuana use in the United States is roughly even with cigarette smoking.
Gallup found that only 15 percent of Americans had reported smoking a cigarette in the last week, the lowest it’s been since the organization started asking the question 75 years ago. Conversely, twelve percent of Americans reported smoking cannabis.
According to Nielsen’s research data, Portland, Las Vegas (18 percent), Denver (18 percent) and Seattle have the four highest rates of cannabis consumption among the 70 metropolitan areas surveyed. (Nevada voters approved their own legalization measure in 2016.)
Nielsen found that the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area, where 14 percent of the adult population reported cannabis consumption in the last month, has the highest rate of use among cities where recreational pot use remains illegal. The 14 percent places the area ahead of several metros where recreational use is legal.
More than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana, while more than a dozen states and cities have passed recreational measures.
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