Explainers

Quantifying California Cannabis

October 9, 2017
Liz Hafalia
Processor Calvin Lee shows a regular dried bud (left) and one trimmed by a trimming machine (right) as he works a trimming machine at Butterbrand Farms on Friday, August 18, 2017, in San Francisco, Calif.
SOURCE: Liz Hafalia

—STATSHOT—

The California Cannabis User

  • 9.5% of California adults 18 or older (or about 2.86 million) have used cannabis in the past month (California Department of Public Health)
  • 23% of California adults over 21 (roughly 6 million) have used cannabis products over the past six months (BDS Analytics, a cannabis business intelligence company based in Denver that combined retail sales data with demographic and psychographic survey data)
  • 61% of Californians age 21 or older are potential consumers of legal products containing cannabis, and ancillary products (BDS)
  • Nearly 75% of the population surveyed say they have either tried or would consider trying cannabis products (BDS)

Women tend to use edibles; men tend to smoke flowers. (BDS)

Wealthier folks prefer legal cannabis. (BDS)

The average cannabis user is a parents in their 30s or 40s (BDS)

Michelle Ina and Ben Versluis, employees of Harborside, photographed on location in Oakland, California, on August 23rd, 2017.
Peter Prato
Michelle Ina and Ben Versluis, employees of Harborside, photographed on location in Oakland, California, on August 23rd, 2017.

The California Cannabis Economy

In 2016, the wholesale value of California's gross cannabis flower production can be estimated at $23.7 billion (New Leaf Data + ERA)

  • 650,000 pounds of legal medical flower x $1,600 per wholesale pound = $1 billion.
  • 1.85 million pounds of illicit flower remaining in-state x $1,600 per wholesale pound = $3 billion.
  • 11 million pounds of illicit flower transported out of state x $1,789 per wholesale pound = $19.7 billion.

There are an estimated 40,000 cannabis farms in the state (Hezekiah Allen, director California Growers Association).

There are an estimated 1,000 medical dispensaries as of 2017 (California Cannabis Industry Association & Allen)

A Harborside Farms worker gathers cuttings for transplant in Salinas, Calif.​
Gabrielle Lurie
A Harborside Farms worker gathers cuttings for transplant in Salinas, Calif.

Cost per...

Gram: $8-$20 retail (WeedMaps.com menu site)

Ounce: $204.48– $248.42 retail (PriceofWeed.com)

Average amount a user consumes per day: 1 gram / 0.8 pounds consumed per year (2014 White House, “What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs: 2000-2010”)


Criminal Justice Snapshot

7,949: Number of felony marijuana arrests, 2016 (California attorney general, 2016)

5,861: Number of misdemeanor marijuana arrests, 2016 (California attorney general, 2016)

43.6 percent: Decrease in felony marijuana arrests from 2011 to 2016 (California attorney general, 2016)