This Pennsylvania City Is Smoking More Weed Than Anywhere Else in the State


Cannabis is the plant that yields marijuana, a psychotropic drug commonly referred to as weed, pot, or cannabis. It is utilized for either medicinal or recreational purposes, depending on the availability and legal status in each area. While marijuana is banned on a federal level in the United States, many states have legalized it for either medical or recreational use, or both.

Pennsylvania, which passed the Medical Marijuana Act in 2016, is one of the states where medical marijuana is permitted. With a doctor’s approval, the act permits people with specific qualifying conditions to purchase and consume marijuana products from authorized dispensaries. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania still prohibits the use of marijuana recreationally, and even tiny amounts of the drug can land you in jail or fine.

According to a new survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some Pennsylvanians are smoking more marijuana than ever before, despite the legal hazards. Based on information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the analysis shows that Philadelphia is the most cannabis-friendly city in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia: The City of Weed and Brotherly Love

Philadelphia had Pennsylvania’s highest rate of marijuana use among those 18 and older, with 16.5% of the population reporting past-month usage in 2019–2020, according to the SAMHSA report. Compared to the state average of 12.8% and the national average of 15.9%, this is noticeably higher. With 4.1% of the population fulfilling the criteria for abuse or dependence, Philadelphia also had the highest rate of marijuana use disorder in the country, compared to 2.7% for the state and 3.1% for the entire country.

Location Population (18 and older) Past-Month Marijuana Use Rate (%) Marijuana Use Disorder Rate (%)
Philadelphia Not specified 16.5 4.1
Pennsylvania Not specified 12.8 2.7
United States Not specified 15.9 3.1

Factors Lead to Consumption of Weed:

Philadelphia is home to over 1.6 million people, making it the most populous and varied city in Pennsylvania. According to NSDUH data, it has a higher percentage of low-income households, young individuals, and racial and ethnic minorities than the rest of the state—groups that typically have higher rates of marijuana use.

Culture: Social and political activism, as well as creative and cultural expression, have a long and rich history in Philadelphia. Numerous well-known writers, singers, artists, and celebrities call the city home; some, like Will Smith, Questlove, Kevin Hart, and Meek Mill, have openly supported or used marijuana. The city also holds a number of cannabis-related celebrations and events, including the Philly NORML Freedom Rally, the Philly Cannabis Cup, and the Philly Smoke Session.

Policy: Compared to the rest of the state, Philadelphia has a more liberal and tolerant stance on marijuana. The possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana was decriminalized in the city in 2014; the offense was now only punishable by a civil citation with a $25 fee rather than a criminal misdemeanor.

A pre-arrest diversion program was introduced by the city in 2016; by filling out a social service referral form, those found in possession of tiny amounts of drugs, including marijuana, can avoid being arrested and prosecuted. Larry Krasner, the city’s district attorney, declared in 2019 that his office would no longer pursue instances involving marijuana possession, regardless of the quantity.

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According to a recent SAMHSA survey, Philadelphia has the highest rate of cannabis use in the state of Pennsylvania. The adult population of the city has a high rate of marijuana usage and marijuana use disorder, which may be influenced by policy, culture, and demographics.

While some would see this as a symbol of tolerance and freedom, others might be worried about the possible negative effects of marijuana usage on one’s health and social life, including addiction, mental health issues, and impaired driving. Pennsylvania may need to weigh the interests and preferences of its many and vibrant communities, particularly Philadelphia—the city of cannabis and brotherly love—when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the future.

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