background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Study: Pot Use In Washington Double Original Projections

joint.jpg
presensa420
/
Flickr

If there is such a thing, the typical pot smoker in Washington is a white male, 35 or younger with some college education. And he smokes a lot more weed than anyone thought.

That’s the composite that emerges from the RAND Corporation’s report titled “Before the Grand Opening” – a reference to Washington’s new pot marketplace set to open next year.

The study’s lead author, Beau Kilmer, says RAND’s estimate this year – before any pot stores open – is Washingtonians will consume about 175 metric tons of marijuana.

“And if you think about that in terms of half gram joints that would be about 350 million joints,” says Kilmer.

That’s a lot of joints. The RAND study also concludes that 80 percent of that pot is consumed by just 20 percent of the users.

Washington’s Liquor Control Board previously decided to limit production to 80 metric tons a year. This study won’t change that.

The assumption is regulated retail stores will only capture about a quarter of the marijuana market in the first year.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."