New Study Sheds Light on Colorado Marijuana Market
July 10th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Total demand for marijuana in Colorado is estimated to be 121.4 metric tons for residents and 8.9 metric tons for visitors in 2014, according to a report prepared by The Marijuana Policy Group for the Colorado Department of Revenue. Potential demand could reach between 104.2 and 157.9 metric tons, according to the same report, driven by a combination of prevalence, frequency, and dosage for users.
Researchers estimate that there are about 485,000 regular adult marijuana users that consume the drug at least once per month, representing about 9% of the state’s total population; 201,000 residents, or 3.8% of the population, report having used the drug at least once over the past year; and, 184,000 residents under the age of 21 reported usage within the past year with 59,000 having used it last month.
Interestingly, the vast majority of demand stems from regular users, and especially, heavy users that consume marijuana on a near-daily basis. In Colorado, the top 21.8% of users account for about 66.9% of the demand, while rare users (less than once per month) account for less than 1% of demand. Visitors account for 44% of metro retail sales and 90% of mountain community retail sales.
The price of marijuana has averaged $220 per ounce on the legal market for the recreational side, while medical marijuana has remained popular due to its lower relative pricing. Medical marijuana patient licensing fees have fallen over the years to just $15.00, making it much more affordable for patients in need relative to recreational users looking for the THC high.
In the end, the study found that total marijuana demand is much larger than previously estimated, including 31% higher than the Department of Revenue assessment, 89% higher than the Colorado Futures Center study, and 111% higher than the Colorado Center for Law and Policy study. The difference is largely accounted for in the heavy-user population that consumes the drug daily.
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