Marijuana

Colorado's Pot Stores Sold 5 Million Packages of Edibles Last Year, Mostly to Recreational Consumers

They sold 74 tons of buds, mostly to patients.

|

Dixie Elixirs & Edibles

Last Friday the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) released its first annual report, which reveals that cannabis-infused edibles, despite all the public alarm about the special hazards they pose, are enormously popular among recreational consumers. Recreational outlets sold nearly 3 million packages of edibles, compared to the 2 million or so purchased by patients. In other words, recreational users accounted for almost 60 percent of edibles sold. By contrast, they accounted for just 26 percent of the marijuana flowers sold: 38,660 out of 148,230 pounds. Patients bought nearly three-quarters of the buds.

Jacob Sullum

That pattern is somewhat surprising (to me, anyway). You might expect patients to prefer edibles, which provide longer-lasting relief and do not require smoking (although the same could be said for buds consumed in vaporizers). And while the risks associated with edibles have been greatly exaggerated, it's true that the effects are much slower, less predictable, and less controllable, which you might think would deter neophytes. Edibles also give you less bang for your buck, although that would be a bigger concern for frequent users.

Whatever the disadvantages of edibles, it looks like the ability to consume cannabis easily and inobtrusively in a palatable form has proven to be a big draw. And unlike New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who famously freaked out after consuming more THC-infused chocolate than she should have, most consumers unfamiliar with edibles are probably careful to "start low and go slow," taking advantage of the dose information on the package. According to the MED, independent testing that began last May found potency information was accurate 98 percent of the time.

Some other highlights from the MED's report:

  • At the end of the year, Colorado had 833 recreational retailers and 1,416 medical dispensaries (some of which operate out of the same locations).
  • Out of 321 local jurisdictions in Colorado, 72 allowed recreational sales and 88 allowed medical sales; 228 banned both businesses.
  • As of December, growers had about 133,000 flowering plants for the medical market and 91,000 flowering plants for the recreational market.

These numbers show that Colorado, where legal recreational sales began in January 2014, remains far ahead of Washington, where state-licensed pot stores did not begin opening until last July. As of February 25, the Washington State Liquor Control Board had issued 116 retail licenses, compared to 833 in Colorado, which has a significantly smaller population. 

Advertisement

NEXT: Is Psychiatry All Better Now?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Colorado’s Pot Stores Sold 5 Million Packages of Edibles Last Year, Mostly to Recreational Consumers

    Well then clearly there’s some regulation in order.

    1. So one of the nanny groups was pushing for not just packaging regs but being able to ID the edibles as containg pot out side their packaging. Like how you would stamp an oreo cookie. Not how you do that with drinks although they were talking about making everything grey as a color warning. The fact that they have problems buying any sort of capital equipment because banks are afraid to do business with them makes that sort of stamping processes pretty cost prohibitive. And of course everyone wants to consume gray stuff. I believe it was nixed in favor of just doing the packaging but these are the kinds of things we can look forward to. Nannys.

  2. Maybe some of you whippersnappers could enlighten me: Why is the edibles market so large? Do people who routinely smoke ingest marijuana as well?
    Or is it more of a non-smoker thing?

    1. Smoking causes cancer. Eating brownies, not so much. However, we’ve got an obesity crisis on our hands so there’s that. Too much sugar etc. I think it should all be banned. For the children.

    2. Although I’d smoked in the past, once I got my Medical Marijuana card I bought mostly edibles. For one, they’re quick and easy to take. Smoking, on the other hand, requires paraphernalia (pipe, lighter, etc.) that most beginners don’t have. Plus smoking isn’t as discreet since it takes multiple hits to get high and results in clouds of smoke with a distinct smell.

      1. Smoking, on the other hand, requires paraphernalia (pipe, lighter, etc.) that most beginners don’t have.

        Edibles are like some sort of “gateway”! 😉

      2. The doctor who prescribed my MM card recommended the edibles.

        I haven’t followed that advice. My experimentation with edibles ended one beautiful afternoon in Dolores Park before I got the card.

    3. I have read that edibles produce a different experience than smoking does. it comes on much slower and last much longer.

      I have also read thatit’s perfect for some people who were at one time perscribed anti-depresants. I read those people couuld just eat a measured piece of edible in the morning and be prescription drug free.

      Unless those people live in Texas and then they can’t do it.

    4. It might have to do with CO’s prohibition on public consumption. Brownies could just as easily be from Starbucks.

      1. Bingo. This is it. There are just too many places where you can’t smoke. Pretty much all tourists are going to be using edibles, unless they’re staying with a friend.

  3. Best part of reason mobile is the way it renders the article titles. This one came out as

    Colorado’s Pot Stores Sold 5 Million Packages of Edibles Last Year, Mostly to Jacob Sullum

    1. I wish Jacob Sullum would explain how he ate so much pot.

      1. Why hasn’t Jacob Sullum provided evidence that proves he didn’t consume most of Colorado’s pot?

  4. I’ve had brownies twice and I’ll say I’d much rather smoke the stuff than eat it.

    I’m thinking the edibles are selling to people who either never tried marijuana before or who are against smoking in general.

    Meanwhile the people who were smoking before it was legalized are continuing to obtain their stash off the black market, being that the price isn’t much different.

  5. I prefer edibles. But they’re not without their problems. For instance, some of the baked goods have a strong ‘weed’ flavor I sometimes have trouble getting down. Plus they take about an hour to kick in, and if you make a mistake and eat too much there’s nothing you can do but ride it out (sometimes through the next day). My favorite edible is a tiny gummy (packed with 70-mgs of THC) called a Green Hornet. However, I’ve noticed my tolerance to smoking goes way, way up when I ingest too many edibles over a short period of time. So, I’ve just been smoking lately.

    1. Tell it to Maureen Dowd. She ate a whole bar because it wasn’t having any effect on her.

      I think my wife buys edibles. Wish it would make her horny though.

      1. Yeah, I laughed at the Maureen Dowd article. What a maroon! Interesting about your wife, though. My girlfriend gets super horny on weed. It’s so bad that sometimes when I’m tired I tell her I’m out just so I don’t have to pleasure her. The grass is always greener, huh?

    2. what you gotta do is make the butter then add the same volume of water to it and continue to simmer at low heat (boiling it too hard essentially smokes the weed at this point, a little premature) until it cooks off. That doesnt totally get rid of the weed flavor but it helps a lot. Or ive had lollipops made with hash oil which was pretty flavorless ive never cooked with it personally but it tastes much less offensive

      1. Mix oil with peanut butter in 1:20 ratio.
        Warm to 190 in oven and mix well for 15 minutes.

        Magic Oreo’s anyone?

    3. what i really wanna do is make some marijuana bacon fat

  6. independent testing that began last May found potency information was accurate 98 percent of the time.

    Accurate for THC perhaps! They probably weren’t testing for heroin, though!

    /derp

  7. I say buy the buds and then make your own butter/edibles. But that’s, again, probably not recommended for neophytes (unless you have a couple days to spend watching and forgetting an average TV series).

  8. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,
    http://www.work-mill.com

  9. So one of the nanny groups was pushing for not just packaging regs but being able to ID the edibles as containg pot out side their packaging. Like how you would stamp an oreo cookie. Not how you do that with drinks although they were talking about making everything grey as a color warning.
    ???? ????? ???? ???????
    ?????? ????? ??????? The fact that they have problems buying any sort of capital equipment because banks are afraid to do business with them makes that sort of stamping processes pretty cost prohibitive. And of course everyone wants to consume gray stuff. I believe it was nixed in favor of just doing the packaging but these are the kinds of things we can look forward to. Nannys.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.