Denver is home to the highest number of marijuana stores in the United States, and leads the country with 18.5% of adults as current marijuana users.

A new statewide study funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found that 13.6% of Colorado adults are regular users of marijuana – almost double the rate (7.4%) of the entire country – which is at 7.4%. One in five marijuana users in the state of Colorado also reported driving after using marijuana.


“This study shows once again that legalization promotes marijuana use and worsens its consequences,” stated SAM President Kevin Sabet.

“According to state estimates of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adult use has risen in Colorado almost 20% since 2012. If we are to use this new, Colorado state generated data, adult use has risen by even more than that.”


Highlights of the survey are among others:

  • 1 in 3 users are daily users.
  • Low income Colorado adults are using at higher rates than the state average.
  • Almost 33% of 18 to 24-year olds are using marijuana.
  • Almost a third of gay and lesbian adults are using marijuana – more than twice the state average for adults.
  • Almost 1 in five reported driving after using marijuana.


“Marijuana legalization and commercialization is a failed policy and this new report details the impact on many of our populations already impacted by alcohol and tobacco use,” said Bob Doyle, Chair of Colorado SAM and a public health professional with more than 20 years of experience in tobacco prevention.

“The marijuana industry is getting rich while our communities, healthcare system, employers, and families pay the costs,” Doyle added.