Who’s Getting High in Colorado? Cannabis Use By Industry



Even if you aren’t a cannabis consumer, marijuana is a part of life in Colorado.

Many of the people you interact with on a daily basis use marijuana with some regularity. It’s used by individuals from every industry, whether drug testing is a part of the job or not.

That doesn’t mean everyone is high on the job, but it does go to show just how common marijuana use has become in Colorado and around the U.S.

Earlier this year, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Economy released a study that looked at marijuana use by occupation, age, race, and sex.

Using 2014-2015 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the study considered more than 10,000 Colorado residents, 14.6% of whom self-reported marijuana use. It’s the first study of its kind, and it not only sheds light on how widespread cannabis has become, but it confirms that responsible cannabis use doesn’t prevent someone from doing their job anymore than a beer at happy hour.

Who’s getting high in Colorado? Let’s find out.

Marijuana Use By Industry

The study breaks down the prevalence of cannabis use by eligible adults in 20 industries. And while it might not surprise you to learn that the highest rate of usage comes from food services (30.1%) and artists (28.3%), there are a few surprising takeaways.

  • Accommodation and Food Services – 30.1%
  • Administration, Support, Waste Management, and Remediation Services – 18.8%
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing/Hunting – 14.4%
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – 28.3%
  • Construction – 19.7%
  • Education – 5.8%
  • Finance and Insurance – 13.5%
  • Health Care and Social Assistance – 7.4%
  • Information – 18.2%
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – 13.1%
  • Manufacturing – 16.3%
  • Mining, Oil and Gas – 5.2%
  • Professional, Scientific, Technical Services – 14%
  • Public Administration – 5.8%
  • Real Estate, Rent, Lease – 19.6%
  • Retail Trade – 18.9%
  • Transport and Warehousing – 10.2%
  • Utilities – 5.8%
  • Wholesale Trade – 11.4%
  • Other Services – 20.9%

At least 1 in every 20 professionals profess to using cannabis, no matter the industry. And many professions see usage closer to 1 in 5. When you consider those cannabis consumers who don’t self-report, the numbers are likely much higher.

One look at Colorado’s economy shows that this rate of cannabis consumption isn’t having the negative effect many detractors would have predicted. Just like grabbing a cold beer or eating a pint of ice cream after work, cannabis has become a way many dedicated professionals relax.

Marijuana Use By Age, Race, and Sex

Many cannabis consumers assume marijuana use is far more prevalent in men, and that women don’t smoke as often or as much. And while the study didn’t consider the amount of marijuana people smoke, it did show that women (5,031) are getting high–or are open about getting high–just as often as men (5,138).

That’s a difference of just one percentage point.

The other surprising result came from the rate of usage by age. Only 625 respondents were between the age of 18-25 while individuals over the age of 35 accounted for an impressive 8,187 of the 10,169 people who participated in the study.

While it’s unclear, part of the split could be the result of younger cannabis consumers fearing reprisal for admitting they use marijuana.

Marijuana usage by race stuck closely to Colorado demographics, with the exception of Hispanics/Latinos, who account for only 2.7% of respondents despite accounting for roughly 21.5% of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cannabis Is for Everyone (of legal age)!

What statistic from the study surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments.

And when you need to update your supply of top-shelf bud, concentrates and edibles, stop by Karing Kind, Boulder’s first recreational marijuana dispensary.

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