Programmers love marijuana, so sorry Austin, Raleigh and Atlanta – it hurts hiring
A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan revealed more than a third of software programmers choose consume cannabis while on the job. The top 5 areas with the most tech employees are the SF Bay Area, NYC, DC, LA and Seattle with an estimated 1.4 million (give or take a layoff or two). Marijuana is more than abundant in these areas with NYC currently boasting of 1500+ unlicensed stores, California and Washington being legally recreational states and DC, well, is know you can buy anything in that area. Some promoters say Atlanta, Boston, Austin, Raleigh, and Denver are the real hubs – but they employee about 41% of the top five. Of that Atlanta, Raleigh and Austin are in states that do not have recreational. So tech hub, marijuana hub? Most likely yes.
The top 5 states have a younger population and a wide range of activities including diverse food, vibrant nightlife, and entertainment options including climbing gyms, outdoor activities, and multiple music options.
One tech worker in Seattle who asked to go unnamed shared “I’d probably attribute it to high levels of use at tech industry making them pick up the habit quickly. Also, some strains of weed has the effect of hyper focusing – you tend to make connections between things really well (sometimes connections that don’t exist), also, it gives you a child like focus where you can completely forget everything which doesn’t really happen as adults”
The study found that some programmers regularly use cannabis while programming (18% of our sample do so at least once a month), many choosing to use cannabis for both personal and work-related projects. Furthermore, they found cannabis use while programming is primarily motivated by perceived enhancement to programming-related skills and increased enjoyment rather than by medicinal reasons. Finally, it found programming employees, managers, and students use cannabis while programming at similar rates, despite differences in cannabis perceptions and visibility.
Such cannabis usage, however, is in conflict with anti-drug policies currently enacted for many software engineering jobs: 29% of the sample reported they had taken a drug test for a programming related job, a hiring practice that may limit developer application pools. Thus, the results have implications for programming work-places that currently have anti-drug policies and motivate future research into the effects of cannabis use while programming.
The federal government, the nation’s largest employer is the largest enforcer of drug testing and employment discrimination regarding marijuana – even in legal states. But now, it too is sort of relaxing drug screening rules as agencies struggle to replenish the ranks of a rapidly aging workforce in a tight job market. Agencies like the CIA and the FBI have adopted more lenient rules regarding past use of marijuana among job candidates, officials acknowledge. But if you are programmer who looks to consume, why would you take a job that says no, pays less, has few benefits and not potential stock options?