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Legal U.S. Marijuana Sales Up 184 Percent, Report Says

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One aspect of marijuana's legalization that isn't up for debate is demand, as a recent report says adult pot sales in the U.S. were up 184 percent in 2015.

According to marijuana investment group ArcView and financial data firm New Frontier, America's legal recreational marijuana industry sold $998 million in 2015, up 184 percent from $351 million in 2014. Despite little to no access to banking services because of the plant's federally illegal status, ArcView estimates that the legal pot market is worth $5.4 billion and that its value will grow to $21.8 billion by 2020.

“Many in the business and financial sector have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to the legal cannabis industry," ArcView CEO Troy Dayton says in a statement. "The new data confirms what pioneer investors and entrepreneurs suspected. Legalization of cannabis is one of the greatest business opportunities of our time, and it’s still early enough to see huge growth.”

Part of ArcView's annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets report, the study lists congressional action, the upcoming presidential election, compliance and regulation, price wars and energy use as critical trends that will shape the marijuana industry's future.

"With nearly a dozen states debating changes to their cannabis laws in the coming year, 2016 will be the tipping point in which a majority of U.S. states transition from cannabis prohibition to some form of regulated legal market,” notes New Frontier CEO Giadha DeCarcer in a statement of her own.

Seven states — Arizona, California, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont — are expected to vote on recreational legalization in 2016. In addition, Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania are likely to decide on advancements in medical-use laws as well.

Four states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis recreationally, along with 23 that permit some form of medical use. Colorado, the first state to allow adult-use marijuana sales, reported nearly $700 million of legal pot sales in 2014. Washington, the second state to legalize recreational marijuana sales, reported $257 million in sales after its first year. Alaska and Oregon permitted legalized adult use in 2015, but Oregon started adult sales in October, and Alaska has yet to start its regulated system.

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the total revenue from recreational marijuana taxes, licenses and fees was more than $100 million in 2015.

Continue reading for pot events in this week's Cannabis Calendar:

Cannabis Clinicians of Colorado will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 2, at Green Labs. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m., when members will be updated on Colorado's medical marijuana regulations and hear a presentation on cannabis and pregnancy from Dr. Laura Borgelt. The meeting is $15 for regular CCC members and $30 for non-members.

On Wednesday, February 3, Green Labs will host Bend and Blaze – a free, 21+ vinyasa yoga class with optional cannabis consumption – from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Participants must register on the Bend and Blaze eventbrite page.

Marijuana industry group Women Grow will hold its 2016 Women Grow Leadership Summit from Wednesday, February 3, to Friday, February 5, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, with welcome and networking sessions held at the Curtis Hotel. The three-day event will feature more than sixty experts on the legal cannabis industry, including Jane West of Women Grow, Kayvan Khalatbari of Denver Relief and Meg Sanders of Mindful. On top of daily workshops that cover both entrepreneurial and cannabis topics, attendees will be treated to morning yoga sessions with industry leaders and talks with Greta Gaines and Melissa Etheridge. Tickets range from $149 to $1,199, but will go up after February 1.

Christian/marijuana support group Stoners 4 Jesus — a church group whose members embrace the spiritual connection that cannabis brings them — holds weekly Bible-study meetings from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday at Quince Essential Coffee House.

Smoking pot while watching standup is disallowed in virtually every comedy club in Denver, but Green Labs and its new Laughs-n-Loud cannabis comedy shows are bucking the trend every Thursday night at 7 p.m. A seven-week series that features four new comedians every week and several pot companies on display, Laughs-n-Loud is for adults 21-and-older and allows cannabis consumption (bring your own). Tickets are $22.09 on the eventbrite page.

The Denver Kush Club and Spangalang Brewery are hosting Vinyl Sundays — weekly parties dedicated to sharing the love of records, beer and ganja — at Spangalang. The Denver Kush Club will hand out free joint cards and merchandise while Spangalang forgets to charge full price for beers. Bring in some vinyl records to share and receive $1 off each beer. 21+

Know of an event that should be in the Cannabis Calendar? Send it to marijuana@westword.com.

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