DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s marijuana legalization legacy shows no sign of slowing seven years after the fact.
Colorado set a new milestone in January, with over $10 billion in total marijuana sales since January 2014. As of February, Coloradans and tourists have purchased $10.3 billion of retail and medical marijuana.
Most of this growth is due to recreational marijuana sales, not medical sales.
Medical marijuana sales have hovered between $25 million and $43 million per month since 2014. Since early 2015, recreational marijuana has sold more every month than the highest-selling medical marijuana month.
The COVID pandemic either drove or coincided with the biggest marijuana sales year in Colorado’s short history of legal sales.
Between medical and recreational marijuana, the state sold $2.2 billion in 2020. This is the highest annual increase in total sales to date, and the third-highest annual percentage increase.
Part of this annual pot spending increase was driven by a post-lockdown spike.
When Colorado went under stay-at-home orders, Coloradans kicked off the highest-ever increase in monthly marijuana spending.
Coloradans spent a collective $226 million on marijuana in July 2020 – the single highest-selling month ever. That was a 52% increase from the amount spent in April 2020, which was the largest-ever increase in spending over a four-month timespan.
Nine of the 10 highest selling months have either been in 2020 or 2021. The six highest-selling months were each in the portion of 2020 directly following the declaration of a national emergency, May-October.
Vibrant sales continue to make Colorado a haven for employment in the marijuana field.
According to industry site Leafly, Colorado had the second-most people employed in marijuana throughout 2020 with 35,539 jobs.
California was the only state that employed more people with 57,970 – nearly double Colorado’s employment but still fewer marijuana jobs per resident.