New Study Looks At Marijuana-Related Terms In Craigslist Housing Ads


I will never forget the first time that I discovered Craigslist. It was well over a decade ago. Craigslist has existed since 1995, but it wasn’t until the 2000’s that I found out about it. The first thing I searched for was a no-brainer for me – arcade games. It led to a lot of arcade game machine hoarding. At my peak I owned 38 games. I have since cut back to 10 arcade machines.

Craigslist is a hotbed for marijuana listings. Some of them are outright illegal, such as those ‘OG Kush for sale’ listings. But many deal directly with marijuana and housing. Craigslist is a popular place for people to look for rental properties, and anyone who has looked in the last five years or so has seen a rise in listings that either say they are ‘420 friendly’ or explicitly state that marijuana use is prohibited at all times. A study was recently conducted that analyzed rental listings that referenced marijuana-related terms on Craigslist. You may have seen legendary activist Tom Angell tweet about it yesterday. Below is more about the study via its listing on Cornell’s University Library:

Recent studies have shown that information mined from Craigslist can be used for informing public health policy or monitoring risk behavior. This paper presents a text-mining method for conducting public health surveillance of marijuana use concerns in the U.S. using online classified ads in Craigslist. We collected more than 200 thousands of rental ads in the housing categories in Craigslist and devised text-mining methods for efficiently and accurately extract rental ads associated with concerns about the uses of marijuana in different states across the U.S. We linked the extracted ads to their geographic locations and computed summary statistics of the ads having marijuana use concerns. Our data is then compared with the State Marijuana Laws Map published by the U.S. government and marijuana related keywords search in Google to verify our collected data with respect to the demographics of marijuana use concerns. Our data not only indicates strong correlations between Craigslist ads, Google search and the State Marijuana Laws Map in states where marijuana uses are legal, but also reveals some hidden world of marijuana use concerns in other states where marijuana use is illegal. Our approach can be utilized as a marijuana surveillance tool for policy makers to develop public health policy and regulations.

I have a lot of friends that live in Portland, Oregon that specifically found their rental property on Craigslist, and the listing related to their rental property stated it was ‘420 friendly.’ It’s a very common thing to see on the Portland Craigslist page, which isn’t surprising because Portland is such a 420 friendly city. But if you look at other parts of Oregon, the ratio of 420 friendly to non-420 friendly flip flops. That is also not surprising because other parts of Oregon are not nearly as 420 friendly in many cases.

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