The demand for cannabis in Colorado this year has been stronger than anticipated, according to a recent state study on the industry.
A report filed by the state's Marijuana Policy Group predicts that the demand for pot by adults 21 and over to reach around 121.4 metric tons this year. That's 31 percent higher than previously estimated by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
The study, using point-of-sales, tax and tourist data to predict demand, also notes that tourists are responsible for around 90 percent of retail marijuana sales in heavily visited mountain communities, compared to 44 percent in Denver and Jefferson Counties. Tourists are also paying more, according to the study, which points out that strains in mountain communities were priced 50 to 100 percent higher than similar buds in Front Range shops.
This graphic from the study suggests that tourists in mountain towns are happy to pay a little extra for some legal herb.
That doesn't mean Coloradans are staying away from weed. The study cites the need for more cannabis stems due to demand by the "heavy-user population" --those who ingest marijuana at least 21 days a month. The MPG estimated that 23 percent of Colorado's pot-users fall into that category, compared to 17 percent nationally.
As Westword's William Breathes has reported, the number of medical-marijuana red cards is also on the rise. The study reveals that since January 2009, when there were 5,051 registered medical marijuana patients in Colorado, almost 106,000 more red cards have been issued. The marijuana tax rate for patients is 7.62 percent, just over a third of the 21.12 percent charged by the state for retail sales.
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There was no data available in the study on the sales and use of concentrates or edibles, but the MPG stresses that a state report on those subjects and more is due during the first quarter of 2015.
Here's the complete report.