America Gets Baked: You’ll Never Guess The Biggest Stoners

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Investors in pot stocks take note: New research should make you beam.

Drug use in the U.S. is on the rise and marijuana remains the indulgence of choice by a wide margin, according to a recent report from testing firm Quest Diagnostics. Marijuana also goes by the name weed, pot, ganja, and cannabis.

“[…] drug test positivity in the majority of industry sectors analyzed is growing,” according to Dr. Barry Sample, senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, who was quoted in the research paper.

Marijuana plants. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg photo credit: BloombergBLOOMBERG NEWS

In other words, America is increasingly getting high. While the Quest data covers both illicit and semi-legal drugs, the results all should augur well for companies in the burgeoning marijuana sector, such as those stocks held in the ETFMG Alternative Harvest exchange-traded fund (ticker: MJ) which tracks a basket of pot stocks. That’s because the data shows increased drug use in general with weed still leading the pack. In turn, that means more pot customers.

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in some states but not others. It is still illegal to use under U.S. Federal law.

Quest has detailed data on drug use from its testing extensive facilities, and it conducts an annual analysis of the results of those tests. The most recent report covered the period 2015 through 2017 and was based on 10 million drug test results.

The report finds that cannabis is still king. “[…] marijuana was the most commonly detected substance, with the highest drug positivity rate of all drug classes across the majority of industry sectors,” states the report

Top marks for teachers

Notably, the results of the drug tests showed that teachers were on the whole not getting stoned on marijuana. At 0.8%, the education industry showed the smallest proportion of people who had used marijuana shortly before the test when compared to those in other sectors. In other words, only 8 educators in 1,000 tested positive for that drug in their urine, according to the Quest Diagnostics analysis for 2017. Those figures were a slight decline from 2015 when 0.9% of the educators tested positive for pot.

What were they doing instead? Apparently, some were taking speed, a.k.a. Amphetamines. The data show educators used that substance at a higher rate than those in any other industry: 1.66% had traces of amphetamines in their urine. That’s more than double the rate of hotel and restaurant employees (0.75%) which was the industry with the lowest use of amphetamines, according to the Quest data.

Chefs getting baked?

The biggest users of weed were those in the food service/accommodation industry, where 3.5% of workers tested positive for marijuana use in 2017. Or put another way, more than one-in-30 hotel and restaurant employees tested had taken the drug shortly before the drug analysis was administered. That figure is up from 2.9% in 2015.

Not far behind the hotel and restaurant workers were retail employees, where 3.2% of those subjected to the urine test showed evidence of having smoked weed shortly before the test. That figure was up from 2.7% in 2015.

So what? This means that those marijuana stocks with a retail presence in tourist destinations (vacation spots or retail hugs) may do disproportionately better than others.

Looked at the other way, setting up a marijuana dispensary near an electric power plant might not make so much sense because the utility industry showed a relatively low incidence of using that drug, (1%).

The report didn’t just focus on marijuana use but also included data on the prevalence of the misuse of other drugs across the major industries. In addition to marijuana, Quest provided data on the presence of cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and amphetamine.

What the firm found was that more than one-in-20 retail workers tested positive for some form of recent drug use for one of the drugs mentioned.

 

 

Source – https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonconstable/2018/12/28/america-gets-baked-youll-never-guess-the-biggest-stoners/#7dfa09945ca0

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