Marijuana consumption in Washington state is about twice as large as previously estimated, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2012 that legalized recreational use of marijuana for those aged 21 and older, and requires the state to regulate and tax a new marijuana market.
Commercial marijuana stores and associated supply chains are scheduled to begin operating in 2014.
In the study, researchers used data from the federal government as well as data from a survey of marijuana users in the state to estimate that state’s annual consumption of marijuana.
They conclude consumption will likely range between 134 metric tons to 225 metric tons this year, with a median of 175 metric tons, or about 385,809 pounds.
The state’s three most-populous counties (King, Snohomish and Pierce) account for about half of all use. King County accounts for about 30 percent of the marijuana users, while Snohomish and Pierce counties have roughly 11 percent each, the report found.
The Washington Office of Financial Management previously had estimated that marijuana consumption in Washington would be 85 metric tons in 2013.
The analysis was done as a part of efforts to help the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepare for commercial sales of marijuana
The RAND report, “Before the Grand Opening: Measuring Washington State’s Marijuana Market in the Last Year Before Legalized Commercial Sales,” is available at www.rand.org.