Have you ever used pot or hash? According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States, 41 percent of people twelve years and older responded in 2008 that they have -- at least once in their life. We're guessing that number is going to rise in the next report, though, thanks to legalization in Colorado and Washington and changing attitudes elsewhere.
But here's a more specific question. Have you used pot of hash in front of a U.S. Census Bureau employee? Anecdotal evidence would suggest that some of you have -- and at least one census worker is fine with that.
The Bureau is currently conducting its 2014 American Community Survey -- an ongoing statistical sampling that collects annual data about age, sex, race, family structure, income, benefits, education, disabilities and more -- and has deployed field representatives to collect that data in Colorado.
One of them ended up last week at the door of a Westword operative, whose household had been selected for the survey. This Westworder answered some questions along the lines of: How big is your house? When was it built? Do you have health insurance? What is your educational background? Do you commute to work? When do you get home? Where do you work?
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Unsurprisingly, the subject of marijuana came up in the context of the answer to that last question. At that point, the Bureau rep said that since Amendment 64 was enacted on January 1, many Colorado residents have had no shame about hitting up the sweet, sweet ganja in front of a federal government employee.
"I haven't had anyone smoke at one of my visits, but one of my colleagues said she had three people light up during a visit just last week," the representative said.
"If it's a choice between smoking pot and drinking beer, most of us would much rather be interviewing someone who's been smoking pot," the worker continued. "They're more chilled out, and they give the greatest answers to the questions. Beer drinkers just get aggressive about the fact that you're a government employee who's asking them a bunch of questions."
Oh, and for the record, the Westword operative wasn't smoking or drinking -- at least not until the Bureau employee left.