Washington Likes Weed More Than Expected: 2013 Saw Roughly 50 Joints Per Resident, Says New Study

It's no secret that the good people of Washington like weed: the state voted to legalize recreational marijuana last year. But nobody knew exactly how much the state likes weed, until now. (Hint: It's a lot.) According to a new projection, the state of Washington has smoked roughly 175 metric tons of weed in 2013 — twice as much as officials had expected.

That's the equivalent of 50 joints per Washington resident this year.

The study was carried out by the RAND Corporation for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the goal being to figure out how many marijuana licenses the state should issue. Before that, the Washington Office of Financial Management had pegged 2013 marijuana usage in the state at 85 tons, but that was based on data from 2008 and 2009.

And a lot's changed since then, namely legalization. The RAND Corporation concluded that Washingtonians will smoke between 135 and 175 metric tons of pot in 2013 (an average of 175 tons), or about 50 joints per resident, by the end of this year.

While 21 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, it’s still illegal at the federal level, despite its medical uses. In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana; Attorney General Eric Holder subsequently announced that, despite the contradiction between state and federal law, the Justice Department won’t intervene in Washington and Colorado’s sale and regulation of the drug.

In the elections earlier this year, the folks of Portland, Maine voted to legalize weed for people over 21, and three cities in Michigan decriminalized the drug.