After record-high cannabis sales across 2020 and a strong start to the new year, the Colorado marijuana market has achieved an incredible $10 billion in legal pot sold since beginning operations in 2014.
Colorado Cannabis Sales During COVID-19
In December of 2020, it was reported that residents were in the midst of the most lucrative year in the history of Colorado’s cannabis market. While COVID-19 pandemic sent many industries tumbling into economic distress, it appeared that legal marijuana remained pandemic-proof.
According to figures released by New Frontier Data, in key legal markets, cannabis sales increased nearly 50% from April 2020 to March 2020—showing a steep boost coinciding with the introduction of COVID-related safety measures. Commenting on the strong sales through 2020, Patrick Anderson—CEO of Anderson Economic Group and frequent publisher of national marijuana market performance reports—said, “what we’ve learned is that no matter what, Americans are going to get their cannabis, alcohol, baking supplies and cars, regardless of the economy.”
Numbers published in the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Sales Historical Report support the same conclusion. Last year, Colorado’s total monthly marijuana sales broke $200 million in July, August, and September—a feat that had never been reached in years previous. In addition, overall sales shot up from $1.7 billion in 2019 to over 2.191 billion in 2020, the largest year-to-year increase the Colorado cannabis market has ever seen. The entirety of the state’s record-setting year played out like this:
|Sales Month||Medical Marijuana Sales||Recreational Marijuana Sales||Total Sales||Total to Date(Since 2014)|
Despite the projection-shattering sales posted across 2020, Colorado’s market closed the year a bit over $20 million shy of the magic $10 billion mark. However, that would change with the most profitable January since legal cannabis sales began back in 2014.
The Future of Colorado’s Cannabis Market
State officials in legal markets have expressed doubt over the sustainability of high cannabis sales coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, recently wrote that, “legal cannabis sales levels have stayed fairly constant after a significant rise early in the pandemic, but we don’t know to what degree this will last. Does this reflect what other segments of our economy have experienced – expanding or contracting primarily because of the pandemic’s role as a market disruptor – or is this the new normal?”
If Colorado’s January cannabis sales are any indicator, the legal cannabis market is in no danger of slowing down. According to figures provided by the Colorado Department of Revenue, consumers bought a reported $151 million in recreational cannabis products and over $35 million in medical cannabis products during the first month of 2021. While the overall monthly total increased just over $1 million from December 2020, the year-over-year comparison shows nearly a 35% sales increase over the previous January. And with that revenue, Colorado has now sold about $10.2 billion in legal cannabis since the market opened seven years ago.
Truman Breadley, Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Group in Colorado, explained the significance of the milestone, saying, “$10 billion shows the stability and the success of Colorado’s regulatory market. If you look at the jobs created, the hundreds of millions of sales and excise taxes raised for state and local programs, it cannot be overstated the success that the regulated market has had in suppressing Colorado’s once vibrant illicit market.”
While the state’s cannabis market keeps experiencing success after success, lawmakers in Colorado have been considering legislation that would limit options for consumers. The measures being discussed would implement THC caps on concentrates, require in-person appointments for medical ID cards, and increase data collection to help impose limits on purchases. To stay informed on shifts in Colorado’s legal cannabis market, check back here at The Weed Blog.
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