It’s been six months since the first legal sales of recreational marijuana took place in Colorado. This week, state regulators published the first-ever study on Colorado’s groundbreaking industry.
Here’s some of the most surprising things that they found:
1. Medical marijuana sales are 4x higher than recreational.
Despite the massive amount of interest in recreational marijuana, it turns out demand for medical marijuana is holding strong. In total, recreational marijuana only generated $43 million during the first 3 months of business.
High taxes and lack of supply may have contributed to the poor sales numbers. But based on Q1 figures, state officials estimate that recreational marijuana will make up less than 25% of all sales this year.
2. Colorado consumes less marijuana than Washington.
Washington’s recreational marijuana industry just celebrated its first sales this week. And while entrepreneurs in Colorado got a six-month head start, a larger population may make Washington the more profitable state to set up shop.
3. The largest group of ‘users’ hardly ever uses marijuana.
Marijuana can be addictive, it’s true. But research shows addiction only becomes an issue for 9% of people who try it. So perhaps it isn’t surprising to hear that among the 500,000-plus Coloradans considered to be ‘marijuana users,’ nearly a third partake less than once a month.
4. One in five marijuana users consumes it daily.
Then again, there’s also a lot of Coloradans who say they smoke every day (or just about). This group consumes more marijuana per session and by far the greatest amount on an annual basis.
5. Total projected demand for marijuana in 2014…
(or 267,000 pounds)