Mainstream Marijuana: Behind Pot’s Boom in California

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In advance of a vote to legalize (and tax the heck out of) marijuana this fall, the Sacramento Bee traces the smoking habits of people across California. The results? People smoke. A lot.

Though the Bee points out that pot consumption is still below what it was in the heady heydays of the 1970s, there’s still a lot of people lighting up: some 3.4 million smoked marijuana in 2008, with some 400,000 describing themselves as daily users. And they do so for a variety of reasons — 42% say for health reasons and 39% say for fun. (See pictures of cannabis culture.)

That stat lets the Bee include priceless quotes like this:

“And retiree Robert Girvetz, 78, of San Juan Capistrano, recently started anew – replacing his occasional martini with marijuana.

‘It’s a little different than I remember,” he says. “A couple of hits – and wooooo. … ‘”

Some other stats from the article: Use is heaviest for the demographic between the ages of 18 and 29, but those between the ages of 40 and 49 are the most likely to have lit up at some point in their life. And despite the push toward legalization — and the decriminalization of possession of small amounts — arrests still continue in California, with some 61,000 people receiving misdemeanor citations in 2008 and 17,126 getting booked on felonies. (via Sacramento Bee)

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