DENVER, CO — Over 10 tons of marijuana are being sold legally in Colorado each month, according to what is believed to be the world’s first post-legalization market study.
The study, conducted by The Marijuana Policy Group and released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Revenue, found the “total marijuana demand to be much larger than previously estimated.”
Based on the first three months of retail marijuana sales in the state, the study projected that the annual market demand for marijuana in Colorado is approximately 130 metric tons, or 260,000 pounds.
The study relied on sales data from Colorado’s first three months of retail marijuana sales. Previous studies to gauge the demand for marijuana relied on survey responses due to the lack of a legal marketplace.
The study used data from the state’s Marijuana Inventory Tracking System used by commercial growers and retailers to account for inventory. Estimates were also included to account for the home cultivation allowed under state law, which allows adults 21 or older to grow up to six plants for personal use. The study also estimated the marijuana grown by medical marijuana caregivers on behalf of patients.
The study estimated that total market demand for marijuana in Colorado, both medical and retail, is about 130 metric tons a year. That breaks down to about 121 metric tons for residents and almost 9 metric tons a year for visitors.
The estimates were nearly a third higher than what was recently projected by the state Department of Revenue prior to implementing legal retail sales in the state.
According to the study, the average price of marijuana in Colorado, when accounting for both medical and retail sales, is $220 an ounce.
The study also found that the state’s medical marijuana market surpasses adult retail sales, at least for state residents. Visitors to the make up the majority of the state’s retail market, the survey concluded.
This is bad news for the DEA. First of all, they were already largely irrelevant in the lives of anyone they didn’t bust but who smokes reefer. We giggle every time we fire it up. Such a bunch of doddering ol’ fools, just don’t get too close or they’ll whack you with their canes.
Then there’s the salutary effect of government literally helping to prove that, far from being a tiny, marginalized group living on the fringes of society, marijuana smokers ARE society. It’s not just a few badly lost Denver Rastafarians sucking up all that sweet smoke.
Revenue. In one word, if government has a reason to be involved in marijuana, it is revenue. Putting aside all the pro and con arguments, the bottom line is it’s pretty darn rare that any large group of Americans stands up these days to say “Tax me, fairly.” It’s sure not the 1%. Given all the millionaires who feel like they are paying too much for the society that leaves them flush with cash, I think the generosity of heads everyone speaks to their patriotism, support for democracy, stubbornness, gumption and a whole lot of other positive traits far more than some fat cat making another billion by sending the jobs of 10,000 Americans overseas. Marijuana is homegrown, as re it’s jobs and other contributions to local economies across the US.
Back to bad news for the DEA. Ten tons of legal, high quality pot sold in Colorado means there’s probably 20 tons of the highly variable imported weed that’s available to go elsewhere in the US. It’s also a bunch of weed that will drive street prices lower in the other 48 states (and maybe Washington, too, if production doesn’t rise quickly.) Their partners in the Mexican cartels HATE it when prices go down whether it’s from the DEA failing to take out some of their competition to legal weed in CO. DEA Chief Leonhart better watch her step and get to work. She’s letting her partners south of the Border down and they don’t take kindly to that. Of course, going into the office has been sorta a bummer lately. Maybe it is time for her to put in for retirement, unless she wants to hang around to watch legalization to happen on her watch. That would be a fitting end to her dubious career.