Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, pot, or grass, is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds that can alter one’s mood, perception, and cognition. Marijuana is widely used for both medical and recreational purposes, and its legality varies from state to state in the United States. In Maryland, medical marijuana has been legal since 2014, but recreational marijuana remains illegal, although possession of small amounts has been decriminalized.
However, despite the legal restrictions, Marylanders consume more marijuana than the average of other states where the drug is legal, according to a recent study by Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, a research group that is helping inform the Maryland legislature about its next steps to open the recreational marijuana market on July 1, 2023. The study found that Marylanders consume an average of 25.4 grams of marijuana a month, about five more grams than other states where the drug is legal.
But which city in Maryland is smoking more weed than anywhere else in the state? According to the same study, the answer is Baltimore, the largest and most populous city in Maryland, with an estimated population of 585,708 as of 2020.
Baltimore is known for its rich history, culture, and diversity, but also for its social and economic challenges, such as poverty, crime, violence, and racial inequality. These factors may contribute to the high demand and consumption of marijuana in the city, as some people may use the drug to cope with stress, pain, or trauma, or to seek pleasure, relaxation, or socialization.
According to the 2023 Cannabis Global Price Index, a report that ranks 120 cities around the world based on the price, consumption, and legality of marijuana, Baltimore ranks 16th in the world and 7th in the United States in terms of marijuana consumption, with an estimated 36.1 metric tons of weed consumed annually. The report also ranks Baltimore 19th in the world and 8th in the United States in terms of the average price of marijuana, with a gram costing $10.94.
Baltimore also has a large and active medical marijuana market, with 18 dispensaries operating in the city as of November 2023. According to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, the state agency that oversees the medical marijuana program, Baltimore has the highest number of registered patients and caregivers in the state, with 67,893 and 9,433 respectively as of October 2023. The commission also reports that Baltimore has the highest sales volume and revenue of medical marijuana in the state, with $24.6 million and $4.9 million respectively in October 2023.
What are the implications?
The high consumption of marijuana in Baltimore has both positive and negative implications for the city and the state. On the positive side, marijuana may provide some benefits for the health and well-being of some users, such as relieving pain, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, or seizures, or enhancing mood, creativity, or appetite. Marijuana may also generate economic opportunities and revenues for the city and the state, such as creating jobs, businesses, taxes, and tourism.
On the negative side, marijuana may also pose some risks and harms for some users, such as impairing memory, attention, coordination, or judgment, or causing dependence, psychosis, or respiratory problems. Marijuana may also contribute to social and legal problems, such as increasing crime, violence, or traffic accidents, or creating disparities, stigma, or discrimination.
Therefore, it is important for the city and the state to adopt a balanced and evidence-based approach to regulate and manage the marijuana market, especially as the state prepares to legalize recreational marijuana in 2023. Such an approach should aim to protect public health and safety, prevent underage use and abuse, promote social justice and equity, and support education and research.
Baltimore is the city in Maryland that is smoking more weed than anywhere else in the state, according to a recent study by Cannabis Public Policy Consulting. The study found that Marylanders consume more marijuana than the average of other states where the drug is legal, and that Baltimore consumes more marijuana than any other city in the state. The high consumption of marijuana in Baltimore has both positive and negative implications for the city and the state, and requires a balanced and evidence-based approach to regulate and manage the marijuana market, especially as the state prepares to legalize recreational marijuana in 2023.