Marijuana

Colorado Produced Almost 2 Million Pounds of Legal Weed in 2020

An employee for Wildflower Farms feed plants inside the marijuana growing operation's greenhouse.
An employee for Wildflower Farms feed plants inside the marijuana growing operation's greenhouse. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado marijuana growers produced nearly 2 million pounds of legal weed in 2020, according to an annual report just released by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Last year's harvests accounted for over 1.8 million pounds of usable marijuana, including flower sold at dispensaries as well as shake, trim and wet whole plants used for concentrate and infused product extraction. The total was about 25 percent higher than the 1.37 million pounds of usable marijuana produced in 2019, MED data shows.

Recreational marijuana production alone in 2020 outpaced 2019's overall numbers, with recreational cultivations pumping out over 1.38 million pounds of pot. Medical growing operations also registered a higher output in 2020, jumping from 381,600 pounds in 2019 to 449,328 pounds.

The substantial increase in production coincided with Colorado's highest year for marijuana sales, with dispensaries around the state selling almost $2.2 billion worth of marijuana products in 2020. Not surprisingly, the total number of plants harvested also increased year over year, going from 3.1 million plants in 2019 to nearly 3.7 million in 2020.


As 2020 progressed, however, fewer marijuana businesses renewed their licenses. According to the MED report, the number of medical business licenses dropped from 1,409 at the start of the year to 1,147 by the end of 2020; at the same time, recreational licenses dipped slightly, from 1,590 to 1,562.

Fewer marijuana business owners and more revenue aligns with a report released by the City of Denver in September. Denver's annual study showed that the number of local businesses holding at least one marijuana license decreased from 455 to 440 between 2014 and 2020, while the city's pot tax revenue more than tripled during the same period, going from $21.9 million in 2014 to over $70.3 million last year.

With the state's largest concentration of marijuana businesses, Denver County was responsible for almost half of all harvested marijuana plants in the state last year, according to the MED report, yielding over 776,000 pounds of marijuana. Pueblo County, a popular spot for outdoor cultivations, came in second, producing nearly 330,000 pounds of pot from just under 551,000 plants.

Here's the full report:
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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