Weed, also known as marijuana or cannabis, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. It has been consumed for centuries for both recreational and medicinal purposes. In recent years, weed has become more widely accepted and legalized in many parts of the world, including the United States. As of 2021, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational weed, while 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical weed.
One of the states that legalized recreational weed in 2020 was Illinois. The state became the 11th in the nation to allow adults 21 and older to possess, use, and purchase weed for non-medical reasons. The law also expunged the records of hundreds of thousands of people with low-level weed convictions. Since the legalization, weed sales in Illinois have soared, reaching over $1 billion in 2020 and breaking monthly records in 2021.
But which city in Illinois is smoking more weed than anywhere else in the state? According to a recent study by WagsWoofs, a website that provides information and reviews on weed products and dispensaries, the answer is Chicago.
Chicago: The Weed Capital of Illinois
The study by WagsWoofs analyzed the weed consumption data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which regulates the weed industry in the state. The data included the total sales, taxes, and licenses of weed businesses in each city and county in Illinois from January 2020 to September 2021. The study also used population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate the per capita weed consumption in each city and county.
The results showed that Chicago, the largest and most populous city in Illinois, was also the city with the highest weed consumption in the state. Chicago residents spent over $500 million on weed products in the first nine months of 2021, accounting for more than half of the state’s total weed sales. The per capita weed consumption in Chicago was also the highest in the state, at $185 per person per year. This was more than double the state average of $78 per person per year.
The study attributed Chicago’s high weed consumption to several factors, such as:
- The city’s large and diverse population, which includes people from different backgrounds, cultures, and preferences.
- The city’s high demand for weed, which is driven by various reasons, such as recreation, relaxation, socialization, and medical treatment.
- The city’s easy access to weed, which is facilitated by the availability of over 100 licensed weed dispensaries, delivery services, and online platforms.
- The city’s progressive attitude towards weed, which is reflected by the support of the mayor, the city council, and the public for weed legalization and regulation.
The Pros and Cons of Weed Consumption in Chicago
While weed consumption in Chicago may have some benefits, such as generating tax revenue, creating jobs, and providing relief for some medical conditions, it may also have some drawbacks, such as posing health risks, increasing traffic accidents, and affecting youth development.
Some of the pros and cons of weed consumption in Chicago are:
Weed consumption in Chicago generates tax revenue for the city and the state. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, weed sales in Chicago generated over $100 million in tax revenue in the first nine months of 2021, which was more than any other city or county in the state. The tax revenue from weed sales is used to fund various programs and services, such as public education, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and social justice initiatives.
Weed consumption in Chicago creates jobs and boosts the local economy. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the weed industry in Chicago employed over 10,000 people in 2020, which was more than any other city or county in the state. The weed industry also supports other sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and tourism.
Weed consumption in Chicago provides relief for some medical conditions. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, over 150,000 people in Chicago have registered as medical weed patients, which is more than any other city or county in the state. Medical weed can help treat conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD.
Weed consumption in Chicago poses health risks for some users. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, weed use can have negative effects on the brain, lungs, heart, and mental health, especially for heavy, frequent, or young users. Weed use can impair memory, learning, attention, and coordination, increase the risk of respiratory infections, bronchitis, and lung cancer, raise the blood pressure and heart rate, and trigger or worsen anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addiction.
Weed consumption in Chicago increases traffic accidents and fatalities. According to the Chicago Police Department, weed impairment was a factor in over 1,000 traffic crashes and over 100 traffic deaths in Chicago in 2020, which was more than any other city or county in the state. Weed impairment can affect the driver’s judgment, reaction time, and perception, making it unsafe to drive under the influence of weed.
Weed consumption in Chicago affects youth development and education. According to the Chicago Public Schools, weed use among students in Chicago is higher than the national average, and it is associated with lower academic performance, higher dropout rates, and higher disciplinary actions. Weed use can also harm the developing brain of adolescents, leading to long-term cognitive and emotional problems.
Weed consumption in Chicago is higher than anywhere else in the state of Illinois, and it has both positive and negative impacts on the city and its residents. While weed consumption may bring some benefits, such as tax revenue, job creation, and medical relief, it may also cause some problems, such as health risks, traffic accidents, and youth issues. Therefore, it is important for weed users in Chicago to be aware of the pros and cons of weed consumption, and to use weed responsibly and legally.