Marijuana is illegal for recreational and medical use in North Carolina, but that has not stopped some residents from lighting up. According to a recent report by CFAH, a health and wellness website, North Carolina is the second-largest state in terms of illicit marijuana spending, with an estimated $3 billion in 2022. But which city in the Tar Heel State is smoking the most weed?
To find out the answer, CFAH used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a yearly survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The NSDUH collects information on the use of various substances, including marijuana, among Americans aged 12 and older.
CFAH analyzed the NSDUH data from 2015 to 2019 and calculated the percentage of people who reported using marijuana in the past month in each of the 15 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in North Carolina. An MSA is a geographic region with a high population density and close economic ties. CFAH then ranked the MSAs from highest to lowest based on their marijuana use rates.
The results showed that the MSA with the highest percentage of marijuana users in North Carolina is Asheville, with 16.3%. Asheville is a city in western North Carolina, known for its artsy vibe, scenic mountains, and progressive culture. It is also home to the North Carolina Cannabis Information Portal, a website that provides information on the state’s marijuana laws, business, and medical use.
The second-highest MSA is Durham-Chapel Hill, with 14.9%. This MSA includes two of the state’s major universities, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both of which have neurology departments that are authorized to recommend low-THC CBD oil for patients with intractable epilepsy, as per the state’s Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act.
The third-highest MSA is Raleigh, with 13.4%. Raleigh is the state capital and the second-largest city in North Carolina. It is part of the Research Triangle, a region that hosts many high-tech companies and research institutions. Raleigh is also the headquarters of Hempire Direct, a company that sells hemp-derived products, including Delta-8 THC, a legal alternative to marijuana that has similar effects.
The MSA with the lowest percentage of marijuana users in North Carolina is Rocky Mount, with 6.4%. Rocky Mount is a city in eastern North Carolina, located along the Tar River. It has a history of economic decline, social unrest, and racial tension. It is also one of the most conservative areas in the state, with a strong opposition to marijuana legalization.
The report by CFAH reveals the disparities in marijuana use across different cities in North Carolina, reflecting the diversity of the state’s population, culture, and economy. It also highlights the need for more research, education, and regulation on the substance, as well as the potential benefits and risks of legalization. As more states in the US move toward legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, North Carolina may face increasing pressure to reconsider its stance on the issue.