Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2014
Source: Pottstown Mercury (PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Mercury, a Journal Register Property
Author: Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press
Page: C8


DENVER (AP) - Colorado is smoking pot by the ton, and visitors are,

Colorado's pot regulators issued what is believed to be the world's
first post-legalization market study for the weed on Wednesday. The
study relied on sales data from Colorado's first three months of
recreational marijuana sales, while previous pot market studies relied
on survey responses because the drug is illegal.

"This study finds total marijuana demand to be much larger than
previously estimated," Colorado's study concluded.

The study estimated that total market demand for marijuana in Colorado
is about 130 metric tons a year. That's about 121 metric tons for
residents and almost 9 metric tons a year for visitors. These figures
include medical and recreational marijuana.

Marijuana has an average market rate in Colorado of $220 per ounce,
authors concluded.

The estimates were nearly a third higher than one recently projected
by the state Department of Revenue, which regulates the marijuana
industry. Nations with legal or semi-legal marijuana sales, such as
the Netherlands, do not track national inventory, making firm market
analysis spotty.

Colorado concluded that visitors account for 44 percent of
recreational marijuana retail sales in the Denver area. In the
mountains and other vacation spots, visitors to Colorado account for
90 percent of recreational dispensary traffic.

Colorado's market numbers bore out survey estimates that most
marijuana is consumed by heavy daily users. For example, survey
authors estimated that a third of all Colorado's pot consumers use the
drug less than once a month. But that group accounts for just 0.3
percent of the total market, analysts concluded.

"Heavy users consume marijuana much more often, and more intensely,
than other consumers," the study concluded.

The study tapped into Colorado's new Marijuana Inventory Tracking
System used by commercial growers and retailers to account for
inventory. But the study's authors also included untaxed pot in the
analysis because Colorado allows adults over 21 to grow pot at home.
The survey also estimated production from the state's medical
marijuana caregivers, who are authorized to grow medical marijuana on
behalf of others and do not face state pot taxes.

So far, Colorado sells a lot more medical marijuana than recreational
marijuana, and medical pot patients must be instate residents. Survey
analysts concluded that medical users generally have avoided
recreational sales, which come with much higher taxes for the same

"Therefore, the retail demand is derived primarily from out-of-state
visitors and from consumers who previously purchased" black-market or
illegal weed, the study concluded.

The study noted that Colorado's medical marijuana patients are
two-thirds male. But analysts did not come up with a gender breakdown
for retail consumers.

The authors also said that many recreational marijuana users are
younger than 21 and not participating in the taxed recreational market.

The survey noted significant difficulties tabulating market demand for
concentrated and edible marijuana products, both growing in
popularity. Another study to examine those markets is planned for next
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MAP posted-by: Matt