Colorado Marijuana Sales Top $1 Billion Since Pandemic Began

Inside Denver Kush Club, a dispensary in Denver's Five Points neighborhood.
Scott Lentz
Inside Denver Kush Club, a dispensary in Denver's Five Points neighborhood.
Colorado has seen over $1.1 billion in marijuana sales since the COVID-19 pandemic began in this country, according to figures from the state Department of Revenue.

Legal marijuana sales topped $200 million in August for the second month in a row, reaching the second-highest monthly total since recreational sales started in 2014. Counting back to March of this year, when Colorado and the rest of the nation began shutting down over the pandemic, dispensaries have sold over $1.1 billion in marijuana products — and that's not counting sales in September and October.

Dispensaries sold over $218.6 million worth of marijuana products in August, DOR data shows. Recreational sales accounted for more than $176.5 million (also the second-highest monthly total since 2014), while medical marijuana sales remained strong at just over $42 million.

August marijuana sales saw a slight dip from the record-breaking $226.3 million tallied in July, but still represented more than a 20 percent increase year over year from the same month in 2019.

Although marijuana sales typically start a slow seasonal decline in September, this year has been anything but predictable. After a bumpy start to 2020, state budget projections were bracing for decreasing marijuana revenue, citing declining tourism and resident wages as the pandemic continued. But instead, toward the end of April, marijuana stores began reporting a heavy, consistent stream of traffic, with this summer easily outperforming expectations. Between May and August, monthly sales averaged $209 million.

Dispensaries in Denver and resort towns like Aspen attributed the higher sales figures to staycationers and residential stress and boredom during the summer of COVID-19; border towns such as Trinidad saw a steady stream of out-of-state customers. Alcohol sales have also increased during this same period.

The record sales apparently weren't deterred by wholesale pot prices that hit a three-year high, according to the DOR.