Washington state: Average marijuana smoker has 123 joints a year

Sept. 25, 2013 at 5:12 PM
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SEATTLE, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Seeking to gauge how much should be grown, Washington state officials said they've estimated the average pot smoker's consumption at a joint every three days.

In Washington, that means state-sanctioned growers need to cultivate enough marijuana for about 80 million joints -- or 123 joints per year for each of the state's roughly 650,000 smokers, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

The effort to quantify pot consumption is more than a conversation between two high guys wondering how much pot gets smoked in a year -- it's important for regulatory purposes, officials say. If the state authorizes too little marijuana to be grown it will drive users to illicit drug dealers. If it authorizes too much, the weed will likely flow across state lines where it hasn't been legalized.

But efforts to quantify pot smoking have met with more problems than simple arithmetic. Most notably it's that joints, the state's unit of measurement in the equation, aren't necessarily the preferred method of ingesting the drug for many people. Young people, particularly, use all kinds of methods -- from pipes and bongs to edible pot, oil and vaporizers -- rather than an old-fashioned doobie to get high.

Overall, state regulators said they've estimated the amount of marijuana used legally and illegally annually -- that includes all parts of the plant, not just leaves and buds -- at between 182 million and 187 million tons annually.

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