One In Four People Smoke Legal Pot At Work

By Bryan Le 03/18/19

A survey of marijuana users in legal states yielded some surprising results.

Man in professional suit smoking at job.
They're high on the job. Alberto Jorrin Rodriguez |

One in four marijuana users living in legal states admit to using the stuff during work hours, according to a wide-ranging survey funded by marketing firm Quinn Thomas.

To get a pulse on the legal marijuana industry, Quinn Thomas hired DHM Research to carry out the poll. They questioned 900 cannabis users—evenly split between the legal states of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon—about who they were and when they used.

“There is a lot of information out there about the cannabis industry and its regulatory structure, but not much is known about consumers,” said Quinn Thomas Vice President Zach Knowling. “We felt our experience researching and reaching unique audiences could build greater understanding of who they are.”

The survey also discovered that one in four users admitted to using marijuana before work. Additionally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, reported marijuana use went up after legalization. Specifically, 36% of those surveyed in Washington said they regularly used marijuana before legalization, while 44% reported using marijuana regularly after legalization.

The demographics of pot use also yielded interesting results. For the most part, the population of pot smokers closely resembled the population of the states surveyed in terms of age, education level, and political affiliation.

For example, 65% of those surveyed had less than a BA, while the remainder achieved at least a BA, which is similar to the profile of the general population of the United States. However, the demographics did split in one category—gender. Of those surveyed, 60% of pot smokers reported being male.

About 79% of respondents believed that despite legalization, there remains a social stigma attached to marijuana use, leading to only half of respondents being open about their use to friends and family.

Things become less clear-cut when it comes to how money ties in with marijuana. While 62% report that the actual price is among the top two concerns when making a marijuana purchase, an overwhelming majority said they would rather marijuana buying be comparable to going to a wine shop than something they pick up at a convenience store.

Another financially interesting finding is that lower-income people spent the most money on marijuana. About 25% of users with annual household incomes of less than $25,000 spent more than $500 a year on pot.

Users also report that they are more likely to trust their dispensary when it comes to information about marijuana (50%) than their health care provider (38%).

“Staff at dispensaries are the most trusted source of information about cannabis, well above doctors and public health officials. That surprised us,” said Knowling. “There’s an opportunity for state officials and health care experts to increase their role, particularly because consumers told us they want more information.”

As legalization continues to happen in more states, retailers are on the lookout for such information, including the CEO of Whole Foods, who says he would like to see marijuana sold in supermarkets.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter