14.6% of surveyed adult workers in Colorado reported current marijuana use, according to a recent CDC report
Workers in this industry are blazing trails.
Colorado food service workers are the most likely to use pot, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, with employees in the accommodation and food services industry (30.1%) and those who worked in food preparation and serving occupations (32.2%) reporting the highest prevalence of marijuana use during 2014 and 2015. The report looked at data from 10,169 working adults surveyed by Colorado’s CDC-sponsored Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
Marijuana use was next most prevalent in Colorado’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry (28.3%), according to the report, followed by “other services (except public administration)” at 20.9%, construction at 19.7% and real estate at 19.6%. People in industries “known to perform routine drug testing on employees” — i.e., health care and social assistance, or mining, oil and gas — posted lower prevalences of 7.4% and 5.2%, respectively.
Of the thousands of workers surveyed, 14.6% reported “current” use, meaning they had indulged in pot at least one day over the past 30 days. This snapshot of marijuana use by occupation and industry “can help direct and maximize impact of public health messaging and potential safety interventions for adults,” the CDC said.
Younger adults were most likely to use marijuana, with the 18 to 25 crowd reporting a 29.6% prevalence, compared to 18.6% of people aged 26 to 34 and just 11% of those 35 and up. Men were more likely than women to report current use (17.2% vs. 11.3%), while white people (15.3%) were slightly more likely to use marijuana than Hispanic people (15.1%) or black people (14.5%).
Colorado, among the 29 states and D.C. that have legalized medicinal marijuana use and a smaller handful allowing recreational use, has raked in upwards of $506 million dollars in taxes and fees since recreational cannabis sales began in January 2014, according to a July report from the marijuana advocacy and policy firm VS Strategies.
While the CDC report notes that self-reported use over the past month doesn’t necessarily mean partaking or being impaired on the job, it suggests that “awareness of possible employee recreational marijuana use can inform employer policies regarding drug use and workplace impairment.”
“For example, safety-sensitive industries that have higher prevalences of self-reported marijuana use could consider evaluating their current drug testing programs, drug panels used for pre-employment screening, and testing frequencies, and develop policies regarding tolerance of drug use,” the authors wrote.
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