News Release
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313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806  |  Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  (213) 240-8144  |

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For Immediate Release:

July 26, 2018

Marijuana Use on the Rise Among Adults
New report shows trends in adult use of marijuana leading up to the passage of Proposition 64

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announces an increase in marijuana usage among adults in a new report titled Recent Trends in Adult Use of Marijuana. The report’s analysis of data from the Los Angeles County Health Survey (LACHS) shows that the percentage of adults ages 18 and over who reported using marijuana in the past year increased by 33% (from 9% to 12%) from 2011 to 2015. Marijuana use increased by almost 50% among adults aged 21-29. In 2015, use was highest among 18-20 year olds (27%) and 21-29 year olds (22%). Men were twice as likely to use marijuana as women (16% vs. 8%). Additionally, the use of marijuana with a medical marijuana ID card or a doctor’s recommendation increased by over 50% (from 21% to 33%) from 2011 to 2015.

The report found that marijuana use by race/ethnicity and income categories was highly influenced by country of birth. For example, while overall use among Latinos (10%) and Asians (6%) was lower than among Whites (15%) and African Americans (20%), use specifically among U.S. born Latinos (20%) and U.S. born Asians (13%) was similar to African Americans and Whites. Also, while overall use among adults below the federal poverty level was lower (8%) than among all other income groups, use specifically among U.S. born adults below the federal poverty level was higher (19%) than among all other income groups.

“High rates of marijuana use among low-income communities prior to the passage of Prop 64 means we must pay close attention to where dispensaries are clustered post- legalization. Past experience with alcohol and medical marijuana outlets suggests that concentrations of these types of businesses can have a disproportionate impact on low income communities of color,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Very low levels of reported use among those born outside of the US is encouraging, and more research is needed to understand how this could help inform marijuana prevention programs targeting teens.”

The department’s teen marijuana use prevention campaign #BiggerChoices continues and will launch a new video with Instagram influencer Kesh Kesh (@keshkeshofficial) highlighting the health effects of marijuana use on the developing brain.

The upcoming 2018 LACHS contains a larger set of questions about marijuana use frequency, types or products used, and use for a medical condition. Results of this next survey are anticipated in 2019. To view the full report online, visit:

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,100 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $1 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at ichealth, apublichealth and ublichealth.