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article imageStudy: San Francisco has highest rate of pot smoking in U.S.

By Nathan Salant     Jul 31, 2016 in Odd News
Washington - San Francisco, the gleaming city by the bay and financial center of the West, now has another title to add to its allure: marijuana capital.
Yes, San Francisco — the place where social movements are born in the United States and inspire music and imitators across the nation and the world — is the pot capital of the U.S.
According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a greater percentage of San Franciscans 12 and over — 15 percent — smoke marijuana at least monthly more than anywhere in the country.
The survey, the largest of its kind ever compiled with more than 200,000 responses between 2012 and 2014, also found pot use in south Texas to be the lowest in the country at less than 4 percent, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
Nationally, the survey found 7.7 percent of U.S. residents from age 12 and older — more than 20 million Americans — use marijuana at least once a month, the newspaper said.
"We continue to see relatively wide variation in marijuana use" between areas of the country," said statistician Art Hughes, a lead author of the SAMHSA study, who said pot usage has risen less than one percent since the years 2010-2012.
The data does not appear to reveal the effect of marijuana legalization in states across the country, since Colorado became the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana in 2014 and most of the information for the report was gathered before then.
"There are some states where we see rates on the high end even before legalization," Hughes said.
But the survey does show a link between marijuana use and attitudes toward legalization.
People who use marijuana often are less likely to say such usage is harmful, while people who use it less often are more likely to say it is harmful.
Nearly 50 percent of people in Miami-Dade County in South Florida see a great risk of harm from using pot while around five percent of area residents said they used marijuana regularly, the survey said.
As a result, researchers have begun to question the relationship between marijuana usage and attitudes toward the drug, the newspaper said.
Many surveys show rates of usage declining even as fears over marijuana's harmfulness among high school students have also fallen.
More about California, San Francisco, Marijuana, Legalization, Florida
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