Study Reveals the Average Cannabis User in Denver

Editors’s note: Occasionally we cross-post content from our cannabis publication Cannabis Regulator so that alcohol professionals can keep abreast of the rapidly emerging legal pot industry.

Nearly half (49.6%) of people living in the Greater Denver Metropolitan Area have used or bought cannabis in the past year.

That’s according to a recently released study of consumer trends among the 3,240,736 residents of the 48 Colorado counties, 14 Nebraska counties and 6 Wyoming counties that comprise the analyzed metropolitan area. The data was gathered by Consumer Research Around Cannabis, a research service available to marketers and other businesses. The company says it conducts more than 100,000 online surveys per year.

They used “multiple online panels to gather consumer information” for their Colorado study, which included only adults at least 18 years old. Sample size was based on weight to known characteristics of the market based on the most recent U.S. Census. Market Sample size was developed based on age, gender, ethnicity, county weights and nested weighting.

Here’s more of what they found:

1) The Average Denver Cannabis Consumer is 42 Years Old

But the age group that counts the most users is between 25 and 34 years old. These consumers comprise 23.9% of people in the Denver market who have bought or used marijuana once in the past year. Adults 35-44 is next at 21.2%, followed by adults 45-54 at 17.9% and consumers 55-64 at 14.1%.

Adults 65 or older accounted for 9.3% of the total users.

Interestingly, adults 18-24 represent just 13.5% of the area’s cannabis users. This would seem to counter fears (or opinions expressed by pot opponents) that legalizing recreational weed would mean a greater uptick in younger users. While the data does not include how much these numbers have grown, this is hardly an alarming statistic when compared usage rates among all the older age groups.

Legal pot may not be the scourge on youth as portrayed by some of its most vocal challengers.

2) Their Average Household Income is $64,637

Though that number is certainly skewed a bit by the several different groups of higher-income consumers. Household incomes of $100,000 and up represent 20.2% of users, $75,000-$100,000 account for 12.2%, while $50,000-$75,000 represents 17.1%.

The remaining 45.5% of users have a household income of $50,000 or less. This implies a lot of single people buying and using cannabis, living alone or in apartments with roommates who count their incomes individually rather than as a household. It is likely that many of these people are younger consumers, aged between 18 and 30.

Interesting to note that among the higher income brackets, the $100,000+ group is the largest. This points towards the emerging luxury cannabis market, as well as a broader acceptance of the drug in the upper socio-economic segments of Denver.

3) 33.6% of Denver Users Hold a College Degree

That breaks down further into 23.7% who have one degree and 9.9% who hold advanced degrees. A total of 43.1% have “some college” experience, while 20.4% are high school graduates.

Only 2.8% of respondents who said they’d used cannabis at least once in the last year also reported having “some high school or less.”

4) More Than Half are Employed Full Time

A total of 55.6% of those who reported “yes” to using cannabis currently hold a full-time job. Those who consider themselves white-collar workers comprise 45.8% of these users. 42.9% have CDs, IRAs or 401Ks, while 29.5% have a car loan.

People who lived in two-income families totaled 28.6% of those polled.

5) Most Take Cannabis for Pain, Stress or Sleep

When asked why they consume cannabis, the same number of Denver users (47.2%) said that they did so to help alleviate chronic/recurring pain or for better sleep.

Right behind those two answers was temporary/minor pain (47%), dealing with depression, anxiety or stress (45.7%) and relaxing while alone (44.2%).

Treating a non-pain medical condition came in at 34.5%, followed by expanding perceptions and thought process 32.8%. A total of 32.1% of users thought cannabis “enhanced” their experiences at home with family or friends, while 31.5% believed marijuana improved their physical health. Boosting creativity or artistic expression was listed by 29% of those polled.

Interesting consumption reasons on the lower end included “enhancing spiritual experience” (26.3%), helping overcome additions (22.1%) and helping to socialize with new people (18.9%).

Kyle Swartz is editor of Cannabis Regulator. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com. Read his recent piece: The Answer to Cannabis DUIs is . . . Common Sense?

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