Colorado’s Weed Experiment Is a $1 Billion Pot O’ Gold

People are probably going to spend more on pot in Colorado than they will on organic food

If Colorado smokers are seeing a lot of rainbows since the state legalized pot, that’s probably not a bad thing. Because at the end of that beautiful hallucination is a massive commercial pot of gold. Colorado’s weed business is booming. There are an estimated 485,000 adults who smoke weed at least once a month in the state—9 percent of its forecasted 2014 population. That’s a lot of fans of the bud.

After about six months of an open, legal marijuana market, the Colorado Department of Revenue has issued a report that estimates the demand for marijuana in the Mountain State. Perhaps not all that surprisingly, it wildly outstrips previous predictions.

The report estimates that adult Colorado residents will purchase 121.4 metric tons of marijuana this year alone. Keep in mind, that number doesn’t even include the demand for pot by visitors to the state, which is an additional 8.9 tons. All in all, that adds up to a total market demand of a whopping 130.3 metric tons of marijuana.

The Department of Revenue believes that the actual amount, however, could range anywhere from 104.2 metric tons to 157.9 metric tons. The number is being driven by really heavy marijuana users—particularly those residents who smoke on a near-daily basis. The top 21.8 percent of marijuana users in the state account for roughly 70 percent of the demand.

According to the report, marijuana has an average market rate of $220 per ounce.

So what does this market really look like? Here is a breakdown:

There are 35,274 ounces in a metric ton. With that in mind, the demand for marijuana in the state of Colorado in terms of ounces is about 4,596,202 ounces. Sold at the average market rate of $220 per ounce, there will be an estimated $1.01 billion in retail sales of marijuana in 2014.

To put this number in perspective, statewide organic farm product sales hit $68.2 million in Colorado in 2012.

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