Colorado is on pace to report another record year in marijuana sales in 2021, according to data from the state Department of Revenue
. But it could be close.
New figures from the DOR show that medical and recreational marijuana sales combined for $158.4 million in November, pushing the 2021 total to just over $2.06 billion for the year — with one month of sales figures left to be reported.
In order for Colorado to break 2020's record of $2.19 billion
in sales, dispensaries must have logged just over $130 million in sales in December. Although Colorado pot shops have crossed that mark every December since 2018 and generally see a bump in traffic during the holiday season, sales have been on a steady decline in the second half of 2021.
November's $158.4 million in sales represented a 10 percent drop on both a monthly and annual basis, according to DOR data; November was the sixth straight month in which 2021's monthly totals came in lower than last year's. The drop in sales coincides with a 28 percent decrease in wholesale marijuana prices
and is expected to continue through 2022, according to a recent economic forecast from the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting.
Cannabis business owners believe that self-isolation, government stimulus payments and temporary unemployment benefits during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a bump
in marijuana sales in 2020 and early 2021, with sales from the latter half of 2021 marking a return to the norm.
Although the sales record hasn't been broken yet, Colorado has already reached a new high in marijuana tax revenue
, according to the DOR, which releases tax data a month before sales figures. All told in 2021, Colorado collected nearly $423.5 million in tax revenue and licensing fees from the marijuana industry, a 7.3 percent increase from the year before.
With December's tax numbers reported, Colorado has now collected over $2 billion total in marijuana tax revenue at the state level since recreational sales began in 2014.