Business

Colorado Marijuana Sales Nearly Hit $2.3 Billion in Record-Breaking Haul Last Year

A Cookies employee serves a customer at the Denver dispensary.
A Cookies employee serves a customer at the Denver dispensary. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado marijuana dispensaries narrowly set a new sales record in 2021, according to the state Department of Revenue, selling almost $2.3 billion worth of products in the calendar year.

December's $168 million in overall marijuana sales put 2021's total at $2,228,994,553, beating 2020's record of $2.19 billion by less than 2 percent, or about $38 million.

The new sales record comes a month after the DOR announced that 2021 had broken an annual record for marijuana tax revenue, with the state collecting nearly $423.5 in tax revenue and licensing fees from the marijuana industry last year.

Although 2021 ended on a high note, the second half of the year saw a dip in Colorado's pot trade. In May, the state was almost $200 million ahead of 2020's pace, but then sales slowed. December was the seventh straight month in which monthly dispensary sales totals were lower than the same month the previous year, according to the DOR; the drop in sales coincides with a 28 percent decrease in wholesale marijuana prices.

The slower pace of sales is expected to continue through 2022, according to a recent economic forecast from the governor’s office.

Cannabis business owners believe that pot consumption peaked during the earlier stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, with sales from the latter half of 2021 — still significantly higher than 2019's pre-pandemic numbers — marking the return to a normal market.

The DOR is expected to report 2022's first marijuana sales figure next month.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell