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More People in Colorado Are Smoking Weed Than Ever Before, Study Says

If you’re in Colorado and within eyesight of at least two other people, odds are at least one you is a regular cannabis user. According to new data, the state’s legal market is thriving, too.

by Zach Harris

According to Green Market Report, new research from Boulder-based cannabis research firm BDS Analytics found that 35% of responding Colorado residents 21 years and older had sparked up, ate an edible, or otherwise consumed pot in the first quarter of 2018, a 10% increase from the same time frame in 2017.

For retail pot shops, that spike in consumption corresponded with a 12% jump in total sales compared to last year's first quarter. Since Colorado opened America's first adult-use recreational cannabis market in 2014, the Centennial State has lead the country's burgeoning green rush with continuously climbing legal weed sales and tax revenue. By the end of 2017, Colorado dispensaries had sold a record-breaking $1.51 billion worth of weed, with 2018 poised to easily eclipse that nine figure number.

On the consumer side of things, BDS researchers reported that 68% of respondents said they used marijuana for health and wellness purposes, with most Coloradans noting that they prefer to get lit in the evening time — perhaps as a happy hour replacement for a glass of red or a bottle of suds.

And while dispensaries are now full of countless types of pot products, as well as countless gadgets used to consume them, BDS found that 79% of respondents had smoked marijuana, up from 67% during the same time frame last year.

With four years of legalization under its belt and steadily rising cannabis interest, Colorado's love affair with all things ganja bodes well for other states wondering what their own legal weed markets will look like down the line.

In California, where adult-use cannabis sales began in January, a slow licensing process, resilient black market, and sparse statewide access to permitted dispensaries has lead to lower sales numbers and lower tax revenue than expected. Comparing the two states, the Colorado market's long-term viability could be seen as encouragement, a concrete example that growing pains do eventually end in the transition out of prohibition.

As more states continue to pass recreational cannabis reform laws, Colorado's status as the number one tourist destination for 420-friendly travelers could diminish, but with so many residents finding happiness, relief, and a nice buzz at their local dispensary, it certainly appears that the Centennial State's legal weed market will not only continue to survive, but thrive.

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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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