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

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.

EMPLOYED
FULL TIME
EMPLOYED
PART TIME
UNEMPLOYED OTHER/ NOT
IN LABOR FORCE
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.

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.)

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.

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! 🙂

0 thoughts

  1. 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.

  2. 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”

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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).

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. I have never been unemployed, I am 45, have been an active EMT for 6 Yrs, Town planning board 6 Yrs, Volunteer fireman 16 Yrs, Boy scout commisioner 4 Yrs, Very active and well liked by my community, I now own and opperate a million dollar a year organic feed and grain agricultural store. (Dropped all non organic chemicals 3 Yrs ago) I have never been arrested, Had 2 speeding tickets, Am married 18 Yrs with 2 brilliant kids Raised in a home I built and payed for with hard work. I wrote a letter to the editor about marijuana reform, (Ma, Decrimmilization, 08 Now I am on the DEA, and Local police watch list, my family has been threatened,(The In laws to,) The local police follow me wherever I go. We must stop this Prohibition Terrorist gang destroying our country The police should be our friends not terrorist enimies of the people. Basicaly I am a well liked proffesional hard working Honest family man.Scared for my children and thier upcoming teen years. I have smoked occasionally for 30 Yrs. Jeff Thompson.

  9. I actually see a problem with these charts. If I’m reading them correctly, they take into account the employment status of an individual who has only smoked at least once. In my opinion, that makes these numbers a little flimsy.
    It would be much more accurate and believable if statistics showed the employment/education numbers for people that smoke a certain amount or over in a given year. You guys did a great job in answering my question, but now that I look at it better i’m seeing a big fault in the numbers. This is not a solid demographic I can show anti-legalization people.

  10. I’m yet another real work statistic based on that data. I’m white, in my late 20’s, have a well paying full time job that allows me to support my stay at home wife, have a nice house, 2 cars, and zero debt. I smoke MJ every day. I work in IT as a senior manager, have run successful companies I’ve started and sold, and generally would consider myself “above average” on the intelligence scale. I’ll admit that smoking MJ makes me less “agressive” and people who know me noted that I am more “vicious” in business when I don’t smoke for long periods of time, and people find me calmer and more calculating when I do. I would say MJ doesn’t contribute to my success and if anything might hinder me from being a voracious killer sales person and manager, but I use it because I feel that it helps to keep me more balanced and a better person.

  11. I am a white, full time college student with a 40 hour a week work schedule… I have work at 6:30 am 6 days a week with classes that I attend in the mix. I need to be able to relax in my off time, but i cannot work or study with a hang over; therefore I am a tax paying criminal that cannot afford a hang over…
    Good Day
    Happy Smoking

  12. I graduated with honors from college-and used cannabis the entire time. I have always used responsibly in my own home. I am 48 y/o-a daily user for many many many years. I have been writing to the president daily-to try to get him to reform the laws and tax it-it will fix our broken economy over night!!!!

  13. Christopher, the problem with pulling stats from the people who smoke marijuana currently is the fact that workplace drug testing skews those numbers toward unemployment. But here you go: http://stash.norml.org/who-are-you-iii-workin-like-a-dog-employment-
    statistics-on-marijuana-users/
    Bottom Line: 96% of people who didn’t smoke pot this year are employed. 92%-94% who smoke occassionally are employed, 88%-90% of those who smoke regularly are employed.

  14. I am in the army, and it trips me out that almost everyone in it has smoked some weed, and can’t wait to do so again. We are all potentially risking our lives for our homeland while at the same time paying taxes, but if we chose to smoke something we would be in a world of hurt. I smoked weed all day, every day for a long time and I never hurt anyone, I just had some legal issues that kept me from making the most of my 4.0+ GPA. I fourth in my graduating class, but due to a criminal record scholarships were hard to come by, so here I am, a victim of the Prohibition of Marijuana. It’s time for change.

  15. I am in the army, and it trips me out that almost everyone in it has smoked some weed, and can’t wait to do so again. We are all potentially risking our lives for our homeland while at the same time paying taxes, but if we chose to smoke something we would be in a world of hurt. I smoked weed all day, every day for a long time and I never hurt anyone, I just had some legal issues that kept me from making the most of my 4.0+ GPA. I was fourth in my graduating class, but due to a criminal record scholarships were hard to come by, so here I am, a victim of the Prohibition of Marijuana. It’s time for change.

  16. I am 62yo. I was born of a consanguinous relationship between my mother and her mother’s brother. This endowed me with two things:
    a) a very robust immune system
    b) congenital dysplasia (incomplete bone development in the hips)
    I also inherited osteo arthritis from my mother. My lumbar spine is slowly disintegrating, stenosis in the lower thorax (narrowing of spine, pinching nerves to my lower regions).
    I had my right hip joint totally replaced about two years ago.
    I will be getting my medical marijuana registration card shortly. Without the use of marijuana for pain management I would be either confined to a wheel chair, or bedridden most days.
    I have been tested at IQ: 168
    I have worked off and on over the years, and have been put out of work by pain in every case.
    I have smoked pot since my back first started giving me pain; at age 16. It has never interfered with my ability to work, or drive, or engage in any activity requiring attention and focus. In fact, there were many times I couldn’t have functioned at all without pot.
    I’ve been on various pain killers, most of which were opiate based. I find opiates (legally prescribable) to be inadequate to my pain situation.
    At the level required to take my pain down below my threshold of tollerance opiates make my nauseous, remove my ability to tell when I’m overstressing my joints (thus causing more damage and more pain), and make it hard to focus on what I’m doing, and often put me to sleep.
    A few years ago my primary care physician put me on the Duragesic Patch (fentanyl) one of the most addictive of the opiods. After a few months I voluntarily weaned myself of it, as it was causing me to do more damage by overstressing my body due to not feeling any pain at all; and because I became a virtual vegetable under its influence. It took me a whole five days to become free of it (weaned by using decreasing doses of hydrocodone; 10mg first day, 5 day two, 2.5 day three, and none thereafter; two days of mild discomfort, mostly involuntary muscle spasms).
    And, opiates have a notorious trait of needing to have their dosage increased over time, in order to obtain consistant pain killing results. I have not found this to be so with pot.
    With marijuana I find I can maintain minimal dosage (one or two hits per four hour period) and keep pain under total control; and do so without increasing tollerance, without reducing my ability to tell when I’m pushing my body too hard, and without nausea.
    Also, with opiates there is a distinct withdrawal phase when either stopping use or reducing use in order to decrease tollerance in order to increase effectiveness.
    With marijuana there is no noticable withdrawal. I can quit, cold turkey, any time; and never feel an overwhelming compulsion to go back. It is no more ‘habit forming’ than one’s love of ice cream, or a cold beer on a hot day.
    Ending this senseless prohibition is way overdue. We already proved the uselessness of such legislation with the prohibition against alcohol. It costs money to persecute users and dealers, encourages terrorism and deprives the country of much needed revenue.
    The worst danger of the use of marijuana (while it is illegal) is the damage the DEA does to lives, well being, and property. This should not be so in our great country, which claims to be the world’s most enlightened and free civilization. If we are to maintain that image, we seriously need to adress our currently overbearing ‘Big Brother’ government and eliminate the prohibition against marijuana.
    I think it’s also time to end our puritan censorship of the supposedly free media. As with alcohol and marijuana prohibition, the censorship of our media as regards pornographic materials, does absolutely nothing to inhibit, control or reduce the proliferation of pornography. In fact, it can be statistically shown to do exactly the opposite. Psychologically speaking, prohibition invokes the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ syndrome, making that which is forbidden, even more desired.
    You cannot at once tell people they are free, and then tell them they cannot do anything that might give them pleasure. It is especially useless to prohibit naturally occuring medicinal substances and the natural urge to reproduce. One might as well pass a law forbidding the rain to fall at inconvenient times.

  17. Before I started smoking pot I was Psychotic and suicidal, problems which forced me to drop out of high school. Now I’m a staight A student at UMass and smoke all day every day. My success has convinced my family to vote pro-legalization and advocate it when possible. I have already been arrested three times and served time in Worcester County Jail for Possession of a Class D Substance, and was beaten and raped for smoking pot. Blessedly MA went decrim last year so those fucking cop gangsters can’t beat me up anymore. My only regret is that I didn’t recognize cannabis’ theraupeutic value earlier in life.

  18. James, you hit upon a topic that really touches a nerve with me. Our society has gotten to the point where prison rape isn’t just a joke, it’s an accepted part of the deterrent. How many times have you seen a violent predator sentenced and heard someone make a variation of the “don’t drop the soap” joke? There’s an undercurrent in American thought that prison should be a hellish place and that, well, if you didn’t want to get raped, you should have obeyed the law.
    What these people never consider is that the violent predator isn’t the one who’s going to get raped in prison; he’s going to be the rapist. Non-violent, easy-going, naive-of-crime marijuana smokers who aren’t going to be in jail long enough to exact revenge or seek help, those are the boys getting raped.
    And in some cases, the rape of the young pot smoker is a commodity that was traded for some pot or drugs that are common currencies in prison. We can’t keep marijuana out of our SuperMax federal penitentiaries, yet they want to wall off Mexico to keep the weed out of America?
    I am so sorry for your abuse at the hands of my government, James, and I wake up every day trying to stop it.

  19. The biggest fear of drug lords – just as the crime bosses during the “beer wars” – is that society gets over it’s false religious (war mongering) condemnation of others, allows freedom and legalizes marijuana!
    It would put them (the drug lords) out of business!
    Thank you. Mark in Michigan

  20. I bought my first oz at age 12 in detroit mich. I think thats a way too young, but I cant change that now. Im 47 years young, and I have smoked most of my life. I cant say much about my education except that I robbed myself. wish I had the school thing to do all over again but I know enough to get by. I spell it the way it sounds.(nee=knee). I cant spell it if I cant pronounce it so forgive me my short coming. Mark, you got it right.. Its all te sneeking around that makes you smarter. LOL that was funny. Smoking all these years hasnt made me any smarter but it hasnt made me stupid either. It makes me just right. 25 years of marriage and my oldest youngon is 30. My grandchildren are ahead of their class and I would like to claim that because grandma (me) could come up with very creative ways to teach them to read ,write, and math skills. But hey Im just your everyday very happy person that loves all people. I have a job and I give them the best that I have to give and that would be labor.. Hard labor but I love the challange I never miss a day Im never sick.. Really, Im never sick. not even a headache. Momma always said… “Dont do anything that you cant hold your head up for.” Be the best that you can be and mind the ten commandments, keep your bible and dictionary handy just in case you come up with a question that nobody knows the answer to. When it comes to drinking and drugs, I rather that they (grand children)do neither but please dont drink or do the hard drugs. That stuff can kill ya.

  21. In response to mark, you forgot to mention buisness development/management, accounting, financing, and math.

  22. All MJ does is keep people relaxed and happy, and if i may add makes me more aware of my surroundings, my husband and i have smoked for many years and are very successful with our business in the auto industry. If the government wants to point fingers at a drug then lets point at crack,cocaine,or how about meth, you know the drugs that not only rip families apart but can also cause you to OD. With MJ legal you will only bring money into your state, last i checked that sounds like a pretty good idea.

  23. People always say pot is a gateway drug to hard drugs. well that is just bullshit, I have smoked it for years and I have never tried another drug. that shit is just fucked up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  24. I am now elderly and disabled. However, I used to smoke heavily when available. During that time I regulary nade the Dean’s List, was employed at the top of the heap working with the world’s most powerfull computers and progressed to a most prestigious position of senior computer systems consultant, after several years as a systems designer.
    So much for lazy and stupid!!!

  25. I graduated from a major university, earned several certifications in investment management, work as a full time brokerage trader, an avid believer in God and enjoy a few joints when I get home from work.
    Come on people, it’s a plant that grows on God’s green earth and our govt can ruin or lives and lock us up for possesing a natural seed of the earth? Even if I wasn’t a smoker I would be appaled by the notion of that.

  26. Underachiever trapped in unfulfilling career smokes weed, learns perspective, changes careers, becomes highly successful, well-balanced, happy overachiever.
    Thank you, Mary Jane; you’re such a good doctor.

  27. The fact’s are staggering and the laws are ridiculous! I am a father,a husband,a land owner,a tax payer,a christian,a hero to the people I’ve helped over the years as a firefighter and I am a pot smoker! I use marijauna to relax and unwined. I don’t drink alcohol because I hate the hangover And not to mention the harm drinking does to your body! In my career I’ve NEVER seen or heard of someone wrecking a vehicle under the influence of marijauna but at least 50% of them are alcohol related! I am tired of hideing my use of marijuana and I know that marijuana is safe to use! I’ve been thinking why can’t the American people petition or simply vote for the legalization of marijuana? We vote for everything else why not this?

  28. How is it possible that the govt. can make weed illegal? it’s something that we can’t even stop from growing. That tells me we shouldn’t be reducing our intake, we should be increasing! Just a year ago, I was incredibly unhappy with myself, I thought about suicide and cried every week, November of 08 changed everything. I had smoked marijuana before, but I hadn’t gotten high yet, so I thought I should try it again, and see how it feels. It didn’t click right away, but I could feel a difference. Not just the weed making me high, but curing my brain, you could say. I started seeing things in a completely different prospective, it was like I could see right through everyone. I was able to explain my deepest thoughts in that state of mind, something I could never do sober. It gave me so much time to think, and before I knew it, I was solving the war in my head. 5 months later, smoking almost everyday, I’m a completely different person. I’ve bonded with my parents more, I’ve gained so many friends because of marijuana, and on top of that, I’ve gained confidence, became vegan (no dairy products, no meat products), and began to dive into newer things. I’m not afraid anymore, it helped me realize so many things. In other words, weed equals happiness. How can the govt ban happiness?

  29. How is it possible that the govt. can make weed illegal? it’s something that we can’t even stop from growing. That tells me we shouldn’t be reducing our intake, we should be increasing! Just a year ago, I was incredibly unhappy with myself, I thought about suicide and cried every week, November of 08 changed everything. I had smoked marijuana before, but I hadn’t gotten high yet, so I thought I should try it again, and see how it feels. It didn’t click right away, but I could feel a difference. Not just the weed making me high, but curing my brain, you could say. I started seeing things in a completely different prospective, it was like I could see right through everyone. I was able to explain my deepest thoughts in that state of mind, something I could never do sober. It gave me so much time to think, and before I knew it, I was solving the war in my head. 5 months later, smoking almost everyday, I’m a completely different person. I’ve bonded with my parents more, I’ve gained so many friends because of marijuana, and on top of that, I’ve gained confidence, became vegan (no dairy products, no meat products), and began to dive into newer things. I’m not afraid anymore, it helped me realize so many things. In other words, weed equals happiness. How can the govt ban happiness?

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