DENVER (KDVR) — Marijuana sales figures prove Coloradans were more stressed, bored or otherwise willing to partake than usual last year, Denverites in particular.
Lockdowns and home restrictions were a shot in the arm for at least one section of Colorado’s economy. Marijuana sales from January through November in 2020 topped $2 billion, a record for one of the earliest state adopters of legal recreational pot.
Yearly marijuana sales have more than tripled since the first legal and taxable sales began in 2014. Since that time, Colorado has sold $9.8 billion worth of medical and recreational marijuana.
Like alcohol sales, the pandemic seemed to heat up marijuana purchases. They usually pick up in spring and peak in summer anyway; this year simply had an extra push.
Colorado marijuana sales spiked in April in the midst of a statewide stay-at-home order. They peaked in July, selling $226 million in that month alone. Sales have cooled off but remain higher than any point in previous years.
Sales are overwhelmingly recreational instead of medical. Medical sales, in fact, have stayed roughly even over the last six years while recreational sales take up more and more of the overall share.
A handful of counties either have friendlier environments for setting up marijuana shops or more eager residents. Either way, Denver, Adams and Arapahoe counties together constitute half of the state’s total 2020 marijuana spending – Denver with 33%, Arapahoe with 9% and Adams with 7%.
At $651 million in total, Denver’s sales are exactly one-third of the state’s and dwarf every other county both in recreational and medical sales.
Customers in the City and County of Denver alone bought as much marijuana in 2020 as the entire state bought in 2014, the first year recreational marijuana was legal. It sold more marijuana than the next seven highest-selling counties combined.
Per capita, however, some rural counties spend as much as five times the amount of money as Denverites.
Though a small county with no chance to beat out metro Denver for raw sales, Las Animas County tops the charts for most money spent on marijuana per capita. Las Animas County, on the New Mexico border, spent $4,542 on marijuana per person, followed closely by Lake County with $4,527 per person.
Denver is smaller-time by comparison with $894 per person, making it the eighth highest spender on marijuana per capita.