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Are People Moving to Canna-Legal States Just for Weed?

Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that people are indeed moving for marijuana.

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For the many American stoners who are stuck in states that haven't legalized marijuana yet, the prospect of moving to a state where weed is totally legal is surely a tempting one. But has the temptation of legal marijuana driven a rush of immigrants to canna-legal states? Ryan Carrigan of moving company aggregator moveBuddha found himself asked this very question, and decided to investigate.

Carrigan took a look at his company's stats, and found that out of 1500 inbound moves to the eight states where marijuana is currently legal, around 5% of those people mentioned legal weed as a motivation for moving. The company, of course, does not ask about marijuana preferences during their discovery calls, so the fact that even 5% of people moving to those states voluntarily revealed this info is quite telling.

Interestingly, Carrigan found that everyone who mentioned marijuana as a motivation for moving was either between 25-30, or over 65. For senior citizens, access to medical marijuana is becoming a consideration when choosing a state for retirement. “There is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana," said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at UCLA.

According to United Van Lines, the top US moving destination in 2014 was Oregon, where marijuana had just been legalized. The company also reported that the Mountain West, which includes canna-legal states Oregon and Colorado, had the highest percentage of people moving there specifically to retire. Of course, like moveBuddha, United does not ask their customers about their marijuana preferences, so whether or not pot was a factor in the decision is unverifiable.

In a blog post on the topic, Carrigan wrote, “People aren’t moving for marijuana except in a few select medical cases. Things like jobs, retirement, and family are still the primary forces driving relocations in the US.”  After running the piece, however, “a number of people have commented or emailed us saying marijuana was a major factor in their decision to move,” Carrigan said.

“My guess is that the legal status of marijuana is driving a lot more moves than we think,” he continued. “But it's still hard to tell because fewer people are willing to discuss it.”

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