A recently released piece of cannabis consumer research indicates that up to one third of adults have already gone to pot in states with legal weed.
Initially presented at last month's Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas, the report from canna-business consulting firm Enlucem surveyed 1,000 adults above the age of 21 in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Colorado to try and sort out how many people are actually taking advantage of legalization laws and what exactly they're purchasing.
The survey claims that 36% of Oregonians have purchased legal cannabis in the past six months, while Washington, Colorado, and California reported that 35%, 32% and 31% of adults are active cannabis users, respectively. In Nevada, where recreational sales were active for just a month before the survey data was collected in August, 28% of respondents said they had spent money at a dispensary during the first half of 2017.
Comparatively, the most recent nationwide Gallup polls on cannabis from 2016 suggest that over 60% of all American adults support cannabis legalization, while only 13% admit to being current users. This data was collected before Nevada and California legalized recreational marijuana sales for adults.
In Nevada, where recreational sales started in July of this year, the Enlucem cannabis consumer data backs up the record-breaking sales and tax revenue figures reported by state regulators earlier this year.
"These are often people who had been purchasing untested illegal marijuana from the illegal market, which is often connected to crime rings and violent crime," Riana Durrett, head of the Nevada Dispensary Association, told the Nevada Independent. "Nevada's retail stores are appreciative there is a significant demand that exists for medical and adult use marijuana in Nevada, but caution that taxes, regulatory, and operational costs must be maintained at a level that allows them to compete with the illegal market that does not pay taxes on sales."
Piling on the good news for ganjapreneurs and West Coast tax collectors, the survey presented deeper data indicating that the public's interest in legal weed is no passing fad, with more than 65% of the admitted cannabis users saying that they smoke, dab, eat, drink, or vaporize weed at least "a few times every week."
In addition to current users, researchers asked respondents who said they hadn't consumed cannabis in the past six months if they planned to indulge in the near future, and found that at least 8% of the survey takers in each state were potentially interested. Of this group, the overwhelming majority said they were most interested in consuming edibles, not flower.
In California, where recreational adult use sales kick in at the beginning of next month, 16% of all people surveyed were classified as "potential users," indicating once again that full legalization will expand California's already-robust cannabis industry.
Outside of cannabis use demographic breakdowns, the Enlucem survey also analyzed the popularity of different legal weed product types. The findings indicated that flower is still the most popular purchase, with edibles and pre-rolls coming in at a distant second and third place, respectively.
Since cannabis is still a federally illegal narcotic, data about legal weed customers and the purchases they make is often relegated to state-specific data. By collecting data from across the legal weed landscape, surveys and research studies like the one from Enlucem have begun to depict a more thorough picture of America's rapidly expanding cannabis consumer base.
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