Who Are You II: Industrious & Smart – More SAMHDA Stats on Adult Marijuana Users

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator April 13, 2009

    A commenter named Christopher on the NORML Blog had this to mention about my previous Who Are You? post:

    I would like to know the percentage of smokers, from those charts, that are successful. The biggest argument I hear is that Marijuana makes you lazy and unable to do real work. So what percentage of average smokers are bums and what percentage are productive members of society?

    Ask and ye shall receive. According to the Quick Tables at SAMHDA based on results from the 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, people who have smoked pot are better educated and work harder than people who never have smoked pot.

    NEVER USED MARIJUANA 48.7% 56.5% 46.2% 73.7%
    HAVE USED MARIJUANA 51.3% 43.5% 53.8% 26.3%

    Now it’s likely the employment data have changed since 2007, but at first glance, it appears that the majority of people employed full-time and the majority of the unemployed have smoked marijuana. The 43.5% figure for the part time workers makes sense, if you figure that more low-skilled, part-time positions are likely to face a drug test.

    Employment Status of American Adults

    Employment Status of American Adults

    Based on the responses, about two-thirds (67.8%) of all American adults are employed part-time or full-time, and the unemployed account for 3.2% of all adults (remember, 2007 figures, plus these numbers will vary from official unemployment statistics because some of those “others” would be counted as unemployed, but aren’t in this survey.)

    Employment Status of American Adults Who Have Ever Used Marijuana

    Employment Status of American Adults Who Have Ever Used Marijuana

    But when you break these numbers down for only those American adults who have used marijuana, we find that over three-quarters (78.3%) of all marijuana users are employed part-time or full-time. To be fair, a larger proportion (4% vs. 3.2%) of marijuana users are unemployed than the proportion for all adults, but not so much as to be statistically significant.

    Frequency of Marijuana Use by Full-Time Employed Adults who Used Marijuana at least Once per Year

    Frequency of Marijuana Use by Full-Time Employed Adults who Used Marijuana at least Once per Year

    There are 12.9 million American Adults, out of the 22 million total who have smoked at least once a year, who are employed full time. When we break down their use by frequency, we find the largest proportion, well over a third (36%) of full-time employed marijuana smokers are using more than 100 days per year. That’s 4.7 million full-time employed chronic marijuana users – and they can’t all be snowboarders, rappers, and head shop owners.

    Educational Attainment vs. Marijuana Usage

    Educational Attainment vs. Marijuana Usage

    Finally, almost half of American Adults who have one year or more of college education have smoked marijuana, while among those with only a high school diploma / GED or less educational attainment, about one-third have smoked marijuana. I’m not saying that smoking marijuana will make you smarter, but it seems the smarter you are, the more likely you’ll smoke marijuana.

    So there you have it. The “average” pot smoker, if there is such a thing, is a white, college educated, full-time employed male under the age of fifty. In other words… ME! 🙂

    36 responses to “Who Are You II: Industrious & Smart – More SAMHDA Stats on Adult Marijuana Users”

    1. Nelson P. says:

      Me too!

    2. JC says:

      I’m here as testament to the contrary belief that MJ makes lazy,stupid,unsuccessful,whatever. Coming from about the most adverse conditions to succeed in society…due to my growing up economicaly disadvantaged and no real direction as a young person due to lack of a mentor, positive guidance etc, I have obtained 2 college degrees and found years of success in both fields. I graduated at the top of my class in the last pursuit. In addition, I created my own small business to get me through the college years. All the while being a cannibis user. Go figure, hhmmm.

    3. Jeff says:

      Marijuana 4 Life

    4. mark says:

      It is all the sneeking around that makes u smarter. Many people have learned horticulture, the meteric system, international trade, import/exporting skills, drug law, how our judical system works and does not wrok, biochemistry (how to pass a drug test), and how to turn any item into a smoking device. This free education is all due to the war on pot.

      “yesterdays stoners are todays engineers”

    5. Nax says:

      Been sober eleven weeks(not by choice, just have no connections I can currently afford) and I’ve been getting nothing done because I’m in pain and barely sane with out marijuana, as opposed to when I was smoking and getting the most artwork done per day that I’ve ever managed even compared to back when I would just sit and doddle through classes. So yeah increased productivity for me.

    6. mike says:

      Business owner for many years, tax paying united states citizen, productive member of society, oh, and GED..
      25 year several times per day smoker..

    7. Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects

      Cannabis (marijuana, hashish, or cannabinoids) has been used for medical and recreational purposes for many centuries and is likely the only medicine or illicit drug that has constantly evoked tremendous interest or controversy within both the public domain and medical research. Cannabinoids appear to be able to modulate pain, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, ischemic stroke, cerebral trauma, multiple sclerosis, tumors, and other disorders in humans and/or animals (1–7). However, marijuana has been the most commonly used illicit drug in developed countries, producing acute memory impairment and dependence/withdrawal symptoms in chronic users and animal models (6, 8–10). Cannabis acts on 2 types of cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are distributed mainly in the brain and immune system, respectively. In the brain, CB1 receptors are also targeted by endogenous cannabinoids (i.e., endocannabinoids) such as anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonylglycerol, and arachidonylethanolamide (1, 6, 10, 11).

    8. Christopher says:

      I wish you guys could have seen the little asterisk appear above my head when I saw this. Very informative! I feel so special. Thank you!

    9. Tyler D. says:

      This is a statistic I’m glad to make up.

    10. Jason says:

      i bet the employed number of ppl who smoke would be even higher if they counted the number of ppl that were employed full time but lost there job because of a drug test. Randon,hurt, accident etc. Once again the wart on drugs hurts the economy and the unemployment rate thanks govt. assholes