Cannabis Dispensaries Reach Majority of US Population, Pew Research Finds

Cannabis Dispensaries Reach Majority of US Population

A new analysis by the Pew Research Center reveals that most Americans live in a county where cannabis is legally available for medical or recreational purposes. The report, published on March 5, 2024, shows that 74% of the US population resides in a state that has legalized some form of cannabis use, and 79% lives in a county that has at least one cannabis dispensary.

Cannabis Legalization Spreads Across the US

The Pew Research Center used data from the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization advocacy group, to map the availability of cannabis across the US. The analysis found that 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, while 15 states and DC have also legalized adult-use cannabis. Additionally, four states (Alaska, California, Colorado, and Oregon) have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

The report also noted that the legal status of cannabis varies widely by state, with different regulations on the types, quantities, and methods of consumption allowed. For example, some states only permit low-THC cannabis products, such as CBD oil, for medical purposes, while others allow a wide range of products, such as edibles, concentrates, and flowers, for both medical and recreational use.

Cannabis Dispensaries Increase Access and Revenue

The Pew Research Center also examined the number and location of cannabis dispensaries in each state, using data from Weedmaps, an online platform that connects consumers and businesses in the cannabis industry. The analysis found that 2,964 counties out of 3,142 in the US have at least one cannabis dispensary, covering 79% of the US population. However, the distribution of dispensaries is uneven, with some states having more than 10 dispensaries per 100,000 residents, while others have less than one.

Cannabis Dispensaries Reach Majority of US Population

The report highlighted that cannabis dispensaries provide access to legal cannabis products for consumers, as well as generate revenue for the state and local governments through taxes and fees. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, legal cannabis sales in the US reached $17.5 billion in 2023, a 46% increase from 2022. Moreover, the cannabis industry employed more than 300,000 people in 2023, according to Leafly, a cannabis information website.

Cannabis Attitudes and Challenges

The Pew Research Center also surveyed the public opinion on cannabis legalization in the US, using data from its own polls conducted in 2020 and 2021. The survey results showed that a majority of Americans (60%) support legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, while 31% favor legalizing it only for medical use, and 8% oppose legalizing it at all. The support for legalization has increased over time, from 32% in 2009 to 60% in 2021.

However, the report also acknowledged that cannabis legalization faces some challenges and uncertainties in the US, such as the federal prohibition, the banking restrictions, the public health and safety concerns, and the social justice and equity issues. The report suggested that the future of cannabis policy in the US will depend on the actions and decisions of the federal, state, and local governments, as well as the cannabis industry and consumers.

By Amelia Brooks

Amelia Brooks is a seasoned senior content writer at CBD Strains Only, specializing in the cannabis niche. With a wealth of experience and a keen interest in the therapeutic properties of cannabis, Amelia brings a unique perspective to her writing. Her insightful articles aim to educate and inform readers about the latest trends and developments in the cannabis industry.

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