For years, the Consumer Expenditure Survey has listed marijuana among its hundreds of detailed spending categories. And for years, Americans have reported virtually no spending on marijuana—until now.
In 2015, the average household spent $3.57 on marijuana. That doesn't sound like much, but it's an average and includes both marijuana buyers and those who would never in their wildest dreams purchase marijuana. The $3.57 spent by the average household on marijuana is about what the average household spends on everyday products and services such as artificial sweeteners, towing charges, and decorative pillows.
Households headed by young adults—people under age 30—spent an average of $20.04 on marijuana in 2015, more than five times the average. Households headed by people aged 30 or older spent much less—an average of 75 cents. Young adults spent more on marijuana than they spent on books or newspapers. Their spending on marijuana was almost equal to their spending on video game software.
These estimates are based on the tiny fraction of households that reported spending on marijuana during an average week of 2015. Consequently, the numbers should be taken with a big grain of salt. But as a growing number of states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, we could see marijuana spending become as common as spending on tobacco or alcohol.
Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey