It came down to the last month of the year, but 2018's dispensary sales ultimately edged out the previous year's total for Colorado. According to the state Department of Revenue, Colorado pot shops have sold over $6 billion worth of legal marijuana since retail sales began on January 1, 2014.
For the fifth year in a row, annual dispensary sales reached a new record. However, DOR data shows that the gains are slowing: 2018's $1.55 billion passed 2017's sales total by approximately $38 million, or just 2.5 percent. From 2016 to 2017, Colorado's dispensary sales rose over 15 percent — and they rose more than 30 percent annually in 2015 and 2016 from years prior.
Although more Colorado towns allowed dispensaries in 2018, that lower growth was expected. Wholesale marijuana prices dropped nearly 40 percent from the end of 2017 to late 2018, according to DOR estimates, and the decrease trickled down. According to dispensary sales tracker BDS Analytics, the prices of flower and concentrates dropped 20 percent and 7 percent, respectively, at dispensaries from the beginning of 2018 through October.
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Despite the lackluster gains compared to recent years, December proved to be a solid month to close out 2018. DOR data shows that dispensary sales hit around $134.7 million in December, which was almost 9 percent higher than November 2018 sales, and 5 percent higher than sales in December 2017.
Recreational sales accounted for over $105 million last December, rising over $7 million from the month before. Medical sales also rose slightly month over month, hitting just over $29 million.
According to the DOR, marijuana sales and industry fees accounted for more than $266.5 million in state tax revenue in 2018. Colorado has collected over $927 million in pot sales taxes since 2014.