Colorado Just Released the First Legal Marijuana Market Study (Vice News)

By KAYLA RUBLE | July 11, 2014

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Photo by Brett Levin

More than six months after Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, what may bethe first-ever legal marijuana study indicates that demand has been higher than initially predicted — but it still hasn’t come close to overtaking the state’s medical marijuana market.

The report was commissioned and released by the Department of Revenue, the agency tasked with regulating Colorado’s pot industry, and was compiled by the Marijuana Policy Group. Results show the demand for both medical and recreational marijuana was almost a third higher than the regulator had expected. According to the report, total demand for 2014 is 130 metric tons, with more than 120 tons claimed by state residents and the remainder scooped up by tourists. In the Denver metropolitan area, 44 percent of sales went to visitors. A whopping 90 percent of sales in mountain communities went to out-of-staters.

But even with the retail pot industry growing, Colorado’s medical sales continue to blow the commercial sector out of the water. Not only did the industry maintain most of its market share, but the study also concluded that “conversion from medical to retail consumption is relatively low.”

“This may indicate that medical consumers would rather pay the medical registration fees as opposed to the higher taxes,” the study found. “Or that there are currently relatively few retail outlets compared to medical centers.”

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