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New Frontier Data has recently released The Cannabis Industry Report: 2017 Legal Marijuana Outlook. Among many other interesting findings, the study noted some interesting patterns in the sale of marijuana. Analyzing sales data for marijuana in states that had both legal medical and legal recreational programs, New Frontier Data found that medical users buy more marijuana than their recreational counterparts. Indeed, they both visit marijuana dispensaries more often than recreational users and spent more when they come in to the pot shop.

The report states that in 2016, the average recreational user went to the weed store ever two weeks and spent an average of $49 on each trip. During the same period, an average medical user went to the dispensary every 10 days, spending an average of $136 each time they walked in the door. The report also forecasts that medical sales will outpace recreational sales this year, estimating $5.3 billion and $2.6 billion respectively in sales. The report also forecasts 2025 sales numbers ($13.2 billion and $10.9 billion for medical and recreational sales, respectively), but frankly, given the uncertainty with regards to which states will expand legal recreational or medical sales in that time period and the administrations unclear position regarding marijuana, we don’t put much faith in anyone’s ability to make a good guess that far out.
A handful of reasons may explain these blockbuster medical sales. The most obvious answer can be found in the large number of states that allow medical marijuana compared to the nine that permit recreational sales. But importantly, medical users, who may search for topicals and edibles, or products without THC, may consume a more expensive basket of goods when they go shopping for marijuana. Whatever the reason, businesses catering to marijuana consumers may wish to take note of the booming medical market.