Colorado marijuana report shows legalization may avoid a big potential problem

By: Walt Hickey, Five Thirty Eight
July 10, 2014 Updated: July 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm
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DENVER, CO - MARCH 27: A grow light shines through the leaves of a cannabis plant at Northern Lights grow facility in Denver, Colorado on March 27, 2014. The retail marijuana business has been booming in Edgewater. No crime or problems have been reported to police by retail marijuana businesses since legal recreational sales began on January 1st.(Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

Six months into marijuana legalization, the Colorado Department of Revenue has issued a new report outlining findings about the size of the newly legal market. It turns out that the demand for marijuana far exceeds earlier estimates; according to the report, statewide demand is at a whopping 121.4 tons per year.

That’s 31 percent higher than a previous Department of Revenue estimate and 89 percent higher than an oft-cited study by the Colorado Futures Center.

And while the vast majority of the increase is the result of resident smokers consuming more than expected, the growth of the retail market — particularly among tourists — is a promising sign for the success of legalization.

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