Most business owners will be shaking their fists at 2020 for the remainder of their lives, but this year has been kind to the marijuana industry. After setting a new monthly record in June, dispensary sales kicked down the door in July, crossing the $200 million mark for the first time, according to the state's Department of Revenue.
Colorado marijuana sales started booming in May, increasing 23 percent over April to nearly $192.2 million, and they haven't looked back. Dispensaries sold almost $199 million worth of weed in June, then jumped another 12 percent to over $226.3 million in July, DOR numbers show. That's more than $617.4 million in legal marijuana sales in three months.
Marijuana sales typically peak in August, according to DOR data, with sales tailing off in colder months. However, 2020's record-breaking sales numbers have defied earlier expectations of declining sales in the face of COVID-19 and an ensuing economic recession. Reduced tourism in Colorado during the pandemic was a huge concern for marijuana businesses this past spring, but sales continue to flourish as the state slowly reopens, and the numbers show that Coloradans have played a big part in the rush.
Monthly medical marijuana sales — reserved for medical marijuana patients who live in Colorado — only eclipsed $30 million twice in 2019. But this year, MMJ sales have beaten that number every month since March, with July medical marijuana sales hitting $43.3 million, the highest tally in that category since recreational sales began in 2014. Recreational sales also set a new personal best in July, reaching $183.1 million.
The pot industry's peak season may be followed by another bumpy road, however, with supply shortages often hitting as dispensaries await outdoor harvests in the fall. With the recent string of cold weather, snow and wildfires in Colorado, though, outdoor marijuana farmers are already reporting destroyed and potentially compromised crops, so shortages could come sooner than usual.