Marijuana Breaks Sales Records in September

Even as other states legalize marijuana, cannabis continues to ring up record-breaking sales in Colorado.

The cannabis industry accounted for $127.8 million in medical and recreational marijuana sales in September, according to newly released data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. This is the third month that shows unparalleled sales of cannabis, and it marks the highest-ever monthly total for recreational sales: $88.2 million.

Over the past nine months, marijuana sales have amounted to $974.3 million in Colorado. To put that in context, total sales in the 2015 calendar year were $996.2 million and at this time last year, sales were only at $733.8 million.

This spike could be attributed to a few factors.

Edibles have risen in popularity in recent months. Gummies, in particular, are eating up a bigger portion of the market, according to a report released by BDS Analytics. This year, gummies outsold chocolate by close to 3 percent, dominating 22 percent of the edibles market while chocolate now accounts for 19 percent.

Another study from BDS Analytics shows that concentrates are the fastest-growing category in the industry. With companies exploring so many new variations of concentrates, that market is only expected to grow.

The expansion of infused products may account for some of the rise in revenue, but new laws help, too. In June a new law went into effect that increased the purchase limit for non-Colorado residents from a quarter-ounce to one ounce.

Even with all this growth, the question on everyone's mind is whether it will last. With four more states legalizing recreational marijuana, will that affect Colorado's revenue?

Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California legalized recreational marijuana this November, but there's still the question of social use, which Denver voters okayed in the November 8 election.

Denver officials are still sorting out implementation efforts, but next week they'll start creating the application for businesses to apply to allow social use at their venues. And since it will take at least a year for the markets in California and Nevada to really take hold, things in Colorado are still looking up.
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Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.