One Out of Five Young People Would Move to a State Because Pot Is Legal There

There have been plentiful anecdotal reports about people pulling up stakes to head to where the grass is greener, and now there is polling data to back up the contention that marijuana legalization or liberalization is a pull factor in people's decisions about where they want to live—especially for young people.


A recent Harris Poll found that 20% of Milennials (born between 1982 and 2002) would consider moving to state because pot is legal there. So would 10% of Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1982), but only 7% of Baby Boomers and 1% of Seniors would move for pot. Overall, 11% of respondents said they would factor in the legal status of weed when pondering a move.

Unsurprisingly, the status of weed is not a leading reason for people's decisions to move to another state. The most common reason was weather (52%), followed by job opportunity (41%), proximity to family (36%), and health reasons (25%). Pot legalization was part of a second tier of motivations that also included proximity to friends (18%), proximity to a significant other (16%), educational opportunity (14%), lifestyle more accepted (13%), or political views more accepted (11%).

Also unsurprisingly, liberals (17%) and moderates (12%) were more likely to consider moving to a marijuana legal state than conservatives (6%). And men (14%) were more likely than women (8%).

Fully 20% of gay people said marijuana legalization was a factor for them, too. Gays were also the group most likely (34%) to say they would move to states where their lifestyle is more accepted. While the poll didn't delve into it, it seems like the two forms of social liberalization complement each other.

Right now, there are four legal marijuana states—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—and the District of Columbia. And California, where it is all but legal. But by the end of this year, there could be several more destinations for marijuana movers, including Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and possibly Rhode Island and Vermont. 

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