Campus Cannabis: The Top 7 Stoniest Major Universities

Higher education—literally.

Smoke-in at the University of Vermont
Photo Credit: Youtube

The Princeton Review has released its annual compendium of rankings and ratings of institutions of higher learning across the land, The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition, and buried deep inside are student survey results that helped the Review determine which colleges and universities are the most (and least) marijuana-friendly.

In addition to a myriad of questions about academics, diversity and community, the survey asked 137,000 students "How widely is marijuana used at your school?"

Before getting to the list, a couple of caveats: First, the survey data is impressionistic—asking respondents how many other students they thought were tokers instead of asking for self-reporting, which would theoretically be more reliable. Second, the Review provides no hard numbers—just rankings—so it's impossible to know if the University of Maine is way stonier than the University of Rhode Island or just a bit stonier.


That said, the general outline of the pot-friendly major campus list is not much of a surprise. Those schools tend to be found in pot-friendly states, generally on the West Coast or in the Northeast. Four of the schools are in states that have already legalized marijuana, and two of them are part of the University of California system.

Here, in rank order, are the Princeton Review's stoniest major universities:

1. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Enrollment: 11,159

Vermont very nearly legalized marijuana this year, only to see legislation fall to a governor's veto, and it's on the short-list to be among the next states to free the weed. Students in Burlington aren't waiting, though.

2. University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Enrollment: 27,846

Absolutely not a surprise. This is a campus that has seen monstrous mass smoke-ins—and that was before the state led the way with legalization in 2012. Here's 4/20 the spring after legalization:


3. University of Maine, Orono, ME

Enrollment: 9,323

Another legalization state.

4. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

Enrollment: 14,801

And another legalization state, and one that has one of the highest rates of marijuana use among the general population.

5. University of California Santa Cruz, CA

Enrollment: 16,962

They better be smoking pot at UC Santa Cruz! That and surfing. And philosophizing. 

6. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Enrollment: 31,710

Wisconsin isn't a legalization state and it's not likely to join the ranks soon, but you have to do something when you're governed by the likes of Scott Walker. Oh, for the days of Miffland!

7. University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Enrollment: 21,574

California dreamin'. UCSB always gets ranked high as a party campus, and the seaside location is quite conducive to stoned musing. No shocker here. The campus wasn't always so mellow though; I watched rioters burn down the Bank of America there in 1971. 


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Phillip Smith has been a drug policy journalist for the past two decades. Smith is currently a senior writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute