Health >> Current Marijuana Use >> Adult Marijuana Use

Marijuana use on the rise in King County


From 2011 to 2015, 12% of adults in King County were current marijuana users (had used marijuana at least once in the last 30 days).

Trends: From 2009-2011 to 2013-2015, the percentage of King County adults currently using marijuana increased from 8% to 13%. Seattle rates doubled, from 9% to 18%, during this period. Rates also increased in North, South and East regions.

Age: Marijuanause rates decreased with increasing age, ranging from 20% for ages 18-24 to 3% in those age 65 and older. Limited data on marijuana use rates in adults aged 18 to 20, who are under the legal age of use in Washington, appear to be similar to the entire 18-24 age group (data not shown).

Sexual orientation: 32% of lesbian, gay or bisexual adults were current marijuana users, a figure that is markedly higher than the King County average.

Race and ethnicity: King County residents of Asian descent (6%) were less likely than average to use marijuana. As of this writing, data for other race/ethnicity groups are not stable enough to comment on potential differences. As we receive more data in the future we expect to have rates with more stability.

Region and city/neighborhood: Current use rates forSeattle adults(16%) exceeded rates for other regions of the county. 4 Seattle neighborhoods—Central Seattle, Downtown, Queen Anne/Magnolia and Capitol Hill/Eastlake—had rates ranging from 18% to 22%, higher than the county average.  

Contextual note: In 2012, Washington legalized retail marijuana use for adults age 21 and over. Medical marijuana has been authorized in the state since 1998. All marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Retail stores selling marijuana opened in Washington in July 2014. In 2015, the medical and retail markets were merged under one regulatory framework. The safety of marijuana has not been established and marijuana use may have a wide range of health effects on the body and brain.

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) (2011-2015)

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collects information on the health and safety of Washington residents aged 18 and older. Every year, the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct the survey primarily through telephone interviews, including landline and cellphone numbers. To learn more about the survey, please go to

Numerator: Respondents who answered the following question as 1 or more days: “During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use marijuana or hashish (grass, hash, or pot)?”

Denominator: All respondents who answered the question.

Further resources on marijuana use in King County:

Marijuana and health:

Marijuana legalization and health and human services:

Youth Marijuana Prevention: