A study released Tuesday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed changing attitudes nationwide towards marijuana usage, and the amount of people who use pot more than once a month. In particular, it showed that the Penquis region of Maine — which includes Penobscot and Piscataquis counties — has the highest percentage of regular pot users in the state, and one of the highest overall in the country.
This federal study included responses gathered between 2012 and 2014, from more than 200,000 people from across the country, and gives a fairly clear picture about marijuana usage generally speaking. Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post gave a succinct summary of the data in a blog post yesterday morning, which — perhaps not surprisingly — noted that the San Francisco region in California has the highest percentage of marijuana users, with more than 15 percent of people aged 12 and up reporting at least monthly usage. Conversely, southern Texas reported just 4 percent of people 12 and up using marijuana monthly. Nationally, between 7.54 and 7.92 percent of people use pot monthly.
For Maine, the study showed that, on average, between 10.22% and 13.41% of Mainers 12 and over reported using marijuana once a month or more. For specific regions, the Penquis region (Penobscot and Piscataquis counties) had the highest overall numbers reported monthly pot usage, with the low estimate at 10.36% and the high estimate at 16.8%. Cumberland County comes in a close second, with between 10.16% and 16.2% reporting monthly usage. The regions in the state with the lowest overall amounts are York County, with between 6.95% and 12.32% reporting, and Aroostook County, with between 6.57% and 12.34% reporting.
The study also tracked numbers for people that perceive great risk of harm from smoking marijuana once a month. In Maine, between 15.94% and 20.27% of those surveyed said they believed great harm could come to those that smoke pot once a month. Nationally, the belief that pot usage is harmful is higher — between 28.11% and 28.89%.
There are a lot of fascinating numbers in this study, so take a look at the full report to get a better sense of changing attitudes towards pot in America. It’s a timely topic: in Maine, a marijuana legalization referendum will be on the ballot in November. Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine for some time; people like the former Bangor barber featured in the video below have turned a lucrative profit getting involved in the business of selling medical pot.