February Marijuana Sales Experience Calm Before the Storm

Scott Lentz
Colorado marijuana sales experienced their traditional February dip this year, dropping down to about $167 million, according to the state Department of Revenue. But they are poised for a big rebound.

Although monthly dispensary sales fell about 11 percent from January, the first two months of 2021 are off to a record start, DOR data shows: This year's two-month tally of $354.6 million is almost 22 percent higher than the $277.6 million sold in January and February of 2020. And March's numbers, which haven't yet been released, could be an even bigger sign of what's to come this year.

March is generally the jumping-off point for dispensaries after a winter lull, with sales dropping in February from January's numbers every year but one since 2014, when recreational pot sales began. However, March almost always shows big month-over-month increases, with a 15.6 percent increase on average from 2018 to 2020, according to DOR data.

In 2020, March was the first month that Colorado and the rest of America began enacting stay-at-home orders and business closures at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a surge in marijuana sales that has yet to fall off. March 23, 2020, was a particularly big day, since that was the date of Denver's two-hour prohibition panic, before Mayor Michael Hancock's administration made dispensaries essential businesses.

(We thought Colorado might experience a smaller but similar bump during a weekend blizzard in mid-March, when over 27 inches of snow were recorded at Denver International Airport. However, dispensaries didn't appear to get the same traction this time, according to cannabis sales tracker Headset. Denver dispensary sales from March 11 to 14 — the days leading up to and during the storm — were 11 percent lower than those of the previous weekend, and 38 percent short of the following weekend.)

More Colorado towns entering the legal marijuana market could bump sales figures in 2021, with cities such as Broomfield, Lakewood, Littleton, Fort Lupton, Buena Vista, Grand Junction and several smaller rural towns all recently opting into the commercial marijuana industry. However, some of those markets are still in the starter stage.

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Colorado Department of Revenue