Colorado market demand for marijuana exceeds 130 metric tons per year, state study finds

DENVER - Colorado residents and tourists constitute an estimated market for more than 130 metric tons of marijuana, a new state market study finds.

By way of comparison, that is more than the weight of two M1 Abrams tanks.

Released by the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division, the market demand study finds that about 9 percent of the state's adult population consumes marijuana once per month. Another 4 percent of the state population reported consuming pot during the past year.

The report estimates that state residents who consume medical or retail marijuana create demand for 121.4 metric tons per year.

Visitors account for the demand for an additional 8.9 metric tons each year. Visitors also account for 90 percent of the retail sales in mountain communities that serve large numbers of tourists, like Summit County.

In the metro area, tourists account for 44 percent of retail marijuana sales.

The document also notes that demand for marijuana is satisfied in three primary ways: licensed retail or medical shops, medical marijuana caregivers and black market vendors who "supply the remaining demand."

It also considered demand in Washington State and found that market will likely experience greater demand because it has a larger population. On a per capita basis, however, Colorado is estimated to have slightly larger demand.

Within Colorado, the study found medial marijuana demand remains steady and few consumers are switching from medical to retail sales. The authors speculate that state residents who regularly consume pot desire to avoid retail taxes or may live in jurisdictions that allow only medical sales.

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