Florida Tops the US in Cannabis Consumption, Study Shows

A new study by the University of Miami has found that Florida is the state that consumes the most cannabis in the US, both in terms of prevalence, frequency, and amount.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2015 to 2018, to estimate the cannabis consumption patterns of US adults aged 18 and older. The study measured the prevalence of past-month cannabis use, the frequency of use, and the amount of cannabis used per day.

The study found that Florida had the highest prevalence of past-month cannabis use among US states, with 16.5% of adults reporting using cannabis in the past 30 days. This was followed by Vermont (15.5%), Oregon (15.4%), and Alaska (15.3%). The national average was 10.1%.

Florida also had the highest frequency of cannabis use, with 20.1% of past-month users reporting using cannabis on 20 or more days in the past month. This was followed by Alaska (18.9%), Oregon (18.6%), and Maine (18.5%). The national average was 14.6%.

Florida also had the highest amount of cannabis used per day, with 0.88 grams of cannabis consumed per day by past-month users. This was followed by Alaska (0.86 grams), Oregon (0.85 grams), and Colorado (0.84 grams). The national average was 0.73 grams.

Factors behind Florida’s high cannabis consumption

The study suggested that several factors may explain why Florida consumes the most cannabis in the US, such as:

  • The large and diverse population of Florida, which includes many young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants, who tend to have higher rates of cannabis use than other groups.
  • The high demand for medical cannabis in Florida, which has over 450,000 registered patients, the largest number of any state. Florida legalized medical cannabis in 2016, and allows patients to use cannabis for a wide range of conditions, such as chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, and epilepsy.
  • The proximity to international drug trafficking routes, such as the Caribbean and Latin America, which may increase the availability and variety of cannabis products in Florida. Florida is also known for having a history of drug smuggling and organized crime, which may facilitate the illicit cannabis market.
  • The lack of effective regulation and enforcement of cannabis laws in Florida, which may create a permissive and tolerant environment for cannabis use. Florida has not legalized recreational cannabis, but has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis in some cities and counties. Florida also has a low tax rate on medical cannabis, and does not require testing or labeling of cannabis products.

Implications and recommendations of the study

The study’s authors said that their findings have important implications for public health and policy, as cannabis use may have both positive and negative effects on health and well-being. They said that cannabis use may help some people cope with medical conditions, stress, and anxiety, but may also impair cognitive function, increase the risk of addiction, and exacerbate mental health problems.

The study’s authors recommended that Florida should adopt a more comprehensive and evidence-based approach to cannabis regulation and education, such as:

  • Legalizing recreational cannabis, which may reduce the harms of the illicit market, generate tax revenue, and create a legal framework for quality control and consumer protection.
  • Implementing strict testing and labeling requirements for cannabis products, which may inform consumers about the potency, purity, and ingredients of the products they use, and prevent contamination and adulteration.
  • Increasing the tax rate on medical cannabis, which may discourage excessive and non-medical use of cannabis, and fund prevention and treatment programs for cannabis use disorders.
  • Providing accurate and balanced information about the benefits and risks of cannabis use, which may help consumers make informed and responsible decisions, and reduce stigma and misinformation.

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