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RAND Study: Pot Use In Washington Double Original Projections

The amount of marijuana smoked, eaten and otherwise consumed in Washington each year is double the original projections, according to a long-awaited study released Wednesday by the RAND Corporation.

The findings come as Washington prepares to license hundreds of new marijuana businesses.

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, 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,” he said.

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." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.