Colorado state released this week the world’s first study on what a legal pot market looks like, and the results aren’t pretty. The AP reports:
“This study finds total marijuana demand to be much larger than previously estimated,” Colorado’s study concluded.
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.
So the demand for pot is far greater than initially expected, and that demand is concentrated among a small subset of overall users. Color us unsurprised. Wherever you stand on the legalization question, it’s important to know that we aren’t mainly talking about expanding supply to a bunch of well-adjusted casual users. We are talking about giving heavy users more and more access to a drug that saps their energy and productivity. One can reasonably maintain that the costs of the drug war are so high that enabling users to fall deeper and deeper into the pot equivalent of alcoholism is worth it. But this study helps us at least be clear about what is at stake.