Potanist Blog

Fun with statistics!

Posted by Matt on Feb. 29, 2016, 11:58 p.m.
About a week ago, a very successful businessman suggested that I research the commercial viability of Potanist. He questioned the potential size of our intended user base. I didn’t have a convincing succinct answer to his question at the time; however, it didn’t really bother me all that much because Joe and I are building Potanist for ourselves. I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m saying… It isn’t as though we aren’t concerned with growing the user base (pun fully intended.) We are absolutely concerned with both the quantity and quality of homegrows. That is the entire point of Potanist! Free the (stickiest) Weed! With that being said, we aren’t overly concerned with the size and scope of the cannabis-growing community. If that were an actual issue, we would not have grow shops across America claiming to provide equipment to the niche market of indoor tomato growers. Honestly, we don’t buy the fact that people are dropping some serious dough to grow the “dankest tomatoes” ever. Yet this fact, the ubiquitous presence of grow shops, doesn’t necessarily amount to empirical evidence. To feed the insatiable hunger that is my curiosity, I embarked on a bit of research regarding cannabis grows in America. I don’t believe the numbers, but they are certainly a good starting point. If the numbers are to be believed, we have a lot of work to do! **Stat #1** “22.2 Million Current illicit cannabis users in the US.”*\{1\}* This number represents people that have used illicit cannabis in the last month. I don’t know how to interpret the word “illicit” here. Are we only counting those using cannabis outside of the dubious legal frameworks of the 30+ medical states? Does this count users in CO, WA, DC, AK, OR? It isn’t really fleshed out in the study, so I’m cynical. **Stat #2** “Marijuana use rose to 8.4% of users aged 12 or older in 2014. This is up from 6.2% of users in 2002.” *\{2\}* Firstly, holy shit… that is a huge jump. Secondly, can we start excluding ages 12-18 from this statistic? It isn’t as though they aren’t important, but we need to measure the efficacy of education and regulation for underage consumers going forward. This will be tough to do if we keep lumping them in with the adult population. Underage users need their own unique analysis. **Stat #3** “In terms of how people get their hands on marijuana, national-level data show that 54.8 percent said they get it for free by sharing it with someone, 42.9 said they buy it, 1.3 percent trade something for it and 1 percent grow it themselves.”*\{3\}* Ok, this is the most interesting statistic when it is coupled with Stat #1. We are saying that 222,000 Americans are admitting to growing their own cannabis. That is ballsy considering the surveillance state we find ourselves immersed in. I like to play with the idea that only a quarter to a fifth of users are admitting to having a home grow. If that is actually the case, then there is a distinct possibility that a million plus people in America are growing pot for their own use. Impressive. However, Joe and I believe that this number needs to be much higher. Yes, pun intended. **Stat #4** “Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the EU and, depending on the country, is used regularly by 1–10% of all adults.”*\{4\}* Nice. I knew I liked Europeans. **Stat #5** “Support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing opposition. A slim majority (53%) of Americans say the drug should be made legal, compared with 44% who want it to be illegal. Opinions have changed drastically since 1969, when Gallup first asked the question and found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Much of the change in opinion has occurred over the past few years — support rose 11 points between 2010 and 2013 (although it has remained relatively unchanged since then).”*\{5\}* This one shocked me a bit… During the summer of love only 12% of people favored legitimizing cannabis users? They must not have picked their sample group from the Height. At the time, 32% of Americans supported the War in Vietnam!*\{6\}* Wow… The 11 point jump is fairly impressive, but the stagnation of support is expected. We are a very divided nation. **Stat #6** “According to the survey, there are an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States, two-thirds of whom began brewing in 2005 or later.”*\{7\}* This is fun, because we always draw the analogy of homebrewing beer to growing your own pot. A few things to keep in mind here… Beer is much more inexpensive than weed, difficult to homebrew (well), and most likely has “captured” the imagination of many more Americans than cannabis. I also believe the blatant disregard of civil order during the prohibition era has cemented alcohol in the hearts, minds, kidneys, and livers of all Americans. My follow-on thought is that we need the support of the Brooklyn hipster community. Once they are on board and actively growing their own, the rest of the populous will follow. Viva la revolución! **Stat #7** “About seven-in-ten (69%) Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana while 15% pick marijuana as worse (14% say both or neither), according to a February 2014 Pew Research survey. If marijuana became as widely available as alcohol, 63% still believe alcohol would be more harmful to society.”*\{8\}* Derp. I need to meet this 29% of Americans that either believe they are equally harmful or believe cannabis is worse. What do we call these folks again? Oh yeah, terrorists! (-; **Stat #8** “Nearly half (49%) of Americans say they have tried marijuana, and 12% in the past year, which the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. The government survey showed that 18.9 million Americans 12 or older (7.3%) had used marijuana in the prior month.Nearly half (49%) of Americans say they have tried marijuana, and 12% in the past year, which the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. The government survey showed that 18.9 million Americans 12 or older (7.3%) had used marijuana in the prior month.”*\{9\}* This stat was intentionally put in here to purposely contradict the first stat. The numbers differ, but only slightly. Take all of these statistics with a pinch of salt. Happy Growing! Matt *\{1\}* http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf *\{2\}* http://www.samhsa.gov/atod/cannabis *\{3\}* http://www.livescience.com/48606-marijuana-maps-of-united-states.html *\{4\}* http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00228.x/full *\{5\}* http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/6-facts-about-marijuana/ *\{6\}* http://www.gallup.com/poll/2299/americans-look-back-vietnam-war.aspx *\{7\}* https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/new-american-homebrewers-association-survey-details-demographics-and-production-of-homebrewers/ *\{8\}* http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/6-facts-about-marijuana/ *\{9\}* http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/6-facts-about-marijuana/