1 In 5 Mass. Adults Have Recently Used Marijuana Recreationally, Study Finds
Twenty-one percent of adults in Massachusetts have used recreational marijuana in the last 30 days, says a new study from the state on recreational pot use.
That’s among the highest, if not the highest, rate in the nation. Vermont had close to 18 percent in the latest federal analysis, from 2016.
The Massachusetts report was requested by state legislators in advance of legal cannabis sales. It looked at overall use, how adults consume marijuana, how often they drive while under the influence, hospitalizations and the economic impact.
Young adults are driving the high use rates in Massachusetts. Half of all 18 to 25 year olds who responded to the survey say they smoked or vaped the drug, or ate a marijuana-laced edible, in the past month.
“Those numbers are off the charts,” said Steven Davenport, an assistant policy researcher who focuses on marijuana at the RAND Corporation in Boston, “just massively higher than those you see recorded in data sets like the National Study on Drug Use and Health.”
The most recent data from that national survey puts marijuana use for 18 to 25 year olds at 28 percent. Some cannabis industry analysts adults, young and old, may be responding more honestly in Massachusetts now that possession of up to one ounce in public is legal for those 21 or older.
Some physicians say the young adult use numbers are a call for more education. Dr. Kevin Hill says marijuana may be less risky than alcohol or opioids, but use is not necessarily safe.
“If you use cannabis, it’s going to affect your ability to drive,” said Hill, the director of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “And young people should be aware that if they’re using cannabis