San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland All Have More Cannabis Consumers Than Nicotine Users

Cannabis use is outpacing cigarette and nicotine vape consumption in all three of the West Coast weed hotspots, signifying a significant tide shift in America’s favorite intoxicants.

If you’re looking to bum a smoke on the streets of San Francisco, Seattle or Portland, there’s a decent chance that the first smoker you find will offer you a joint instead of a traditional cigarette.

According to a new report from market research firm Neilsen, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are the only three cities in the country where cannabis use outpaces nicotine consumption. 

The disparity was most notable in San Francisco, where 16% of survey respondents said that they had used marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to only 13% who said that they had smoked a cigarette or used a nicotine vape. In Seattle, 17% said that they used cannabis compared to 16% of respondents who said they consume nicotine. In Portland, 20% said that they used marijuana, while 19% said they had puffed nicotine.

At a surface level, the most obvious connection between the three pacific coast cities is that they are all home to active recreational weed markets. But in addition to readily accessible weed and low social stigmas surrounding the plant, the three cities are also home to some of the nation’s strictest tobacco rules, including an all out ban on nicotine vapes in San Francisco

Broken down by socio-economic status, Neilsen found that cannabis users were on average more affluent than their nicotine consuming counterparts. And considering the well documented, decades-long forces of gentrification that have replaced swaths of longtime residents with wealthy transplants in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, it is no surprise that those cities have seen the most dramatic shift in cannabis and nicotine consumption.

And while cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers are perfectly legal to consume on city streets, public cannabis consumption is still technically outlawed in all three states. If those laws were to change in the future, it is possible that the preference for cannabis over nicotine could grow even larger. 

Unfortunately, even with weed overtaking nicotine in popularity in three West Coast cities, the country’s favorite intoxicant is still alcohol, with nearly half of all survey respondents saying that they have consumed booze in the past 30 days.

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