On Wednesday, The Marijuana Policy Project
released the first-ever post-legalization market study. They found that both Colorado residents and visitors are "smoking pot by the ton
Pre-legalization studies relied on surveys. Now the door is open to sales data, and accurate accounts of how much weed flows through the markets (recreational, medical, and gray markets
alike) can be analyzed: "The study tapped into Colorado's new Marijuana Inventory Tracking System used by commercial growers and retailers to account for inventory," says AP reporter Kristen Wyatt. Including untaxed pot in the analysis was critical because residents 21 and up can grow at home. State medical marijuana caregivers can also grow MMJ tax-free.
The demand for recreational and medical marijuana is 130 metric tons per year. This may mean nothing to you — until you hear that the estimates were "a third higher than the one recently projected by the state department of Revenue," says Wyatt.
Who is smoking the most pot? Daily users. Study authors estimated that "a third of Colorado's pot users consume the drug less than once per month," yet these users account for only 0.3 percent of the total market. It comes as no surprise, either, that medical users are avoiding recreational taxes. "The retail demand is derived primarily from out-of-state visitors," the study concludes, as well as consumers who "previously purchased" weed illegally.
The AP story notes that market research on "concentrated and edible marijuana products" is in the works. Stay tuned, but don't expect to find out exactly how much under-21 recreational users are smoking (a ton?).