28% of NV adults 21+ have purchased cannabis within the past six months
Who is buying cannabis in Nevada now that it’s legal for anyone over 21? More than a quarter of the state’s adults, according to a survey taken late this summer. The figure comes from a survey of 1,000 cannabis consumers and potential users taken this August in five states that have legalized recreational marijuana, including 200 interviews from a representative sample in Nevada. It was presented at November’s Marijuana Business Conference by Ana Hory of the cannabis business consulting firm Enlucem, and represents rare data on marijuana use that can be hard to measure because of its stigma and a ban at the federal level and in many states.
The survey concluded that 28 percent of Nevada adults over the age of 21 have purchased cannabis within the past six months, and about 15 percent of the adult population is considered a “potential user” who plans to buy within the next six months. Nevada ranks lower than other recreational marijuana states, such as Oregon, for the rate of cannabis use. The survey concluded that 36 percent of Oregonians had purchased a cannabis product in the past six months, and another 13 percent were potential users. The estimated 500,000 Nevada adults who have purchased a cannabis product in the last six months is nearly 20 times the number of people who hold an active Nevada medical marijuana card (there were 24,803 cardholders in October, according to state records).
Riana Durrett, head of the Nevada Dispensary Association, couldn’t provide exact statistics on how many individuals have purchased marijuana legally since sales began on July 1, although a handful of retail stores have estimated that they’ve seen between 20,000 and 25,000 unique customers since legalization. Nevada has more than 50 dispensaries. “These are often people who had been purchasing untested illegal marijuana from the illegal market, which is often connected to crime rings and violent crime,” she said. “Nevada’s retail stores are appreciative there is a significant demand that exists for medical and adult use marijuana in Nevada, but caution that taxes, regulatory, and operational costs must be maintained at a level that allows them to compete with the illegal market that does not pay taxes on sales.”
Across the five states, cannabis users are demographically similar and trend younger and male, the research found. About 61 percent of users are male, 61 percent are 40 years old or younger, 43 percent are married and 35 percent have underage children in the home. Three-quarters of users have an annual household income of $90,000 or less, and 51 percent have a full-time job. Female cannabis users tend to be younger than their male counterparts — 37 percent range in age from 21 to 30, while 25 percent of male cannabis users are in that age bracket.
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