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Restaurant, hotel workers lead the pack in marijuana use

Educators, utility workers least likely to use cannabis

by Maggie Fox /  / Updated 
Colorado's biggest pot smokers? Restaurant, hotel staff.Jason Connolly / AFP - Getty Images

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Restaurant and hotel workers smoke the most pot in Colorado, a new survey shows.

The first breakdown of marijuana use in Colorado shows that 30 percent of people employed in the restaurant and hotel industry admit to using cannabis, state health officials reported Thursday.

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People working in the arts, recreation and entertainment come in next, with 28 percent saying they currently use pot.

But don’t worry about teachers or the people installing electricity lines. People working in education, public administration and mining, oil and gas are the least likely to use marijuana, with fewer than 6 percent of workers in those industries smoking or eating weed, the survey shows.

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Colorado legalized medical marijuana use in 2010 and made the recreational use of marijuana legal in 2014. Medical cannabis is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C., and eight states plus D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and marijuana-derived products.

So Roberta Smith of the Colorado department of health and colleagues took a look at who is taking advantage of these new laws.

“Employers and safety professionals in states where marijuana use is legal have expressed concerns about potential increases in occupational injuries, such as on-the-job motor vehicle crashes, related to employee impair­ment,” they wrote in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report.

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They found about 15 percent of the workers who answered a regular health survey were current users of marijuana.

“Among the 10,169 workers, the industry with the high­est prevalence of current marijuana use (30 percent) was Accommodation and Food Services,” they wrote.

The main concern is safety because cannabis can impair the ability to drive or operate machinery safely. Just 10 percent of transportation workers said they used weed, however.

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“Reported current use of marijuana was lower in industries that are known to perform routine drug testing on employees such as the Healthcare and Social Assistance (7.4 percent); Utilities (5.8 percent); and Mining, Oil, and Gas industries (5.2 percent),” Smith’s team wrote.

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