Colorado Sees 93% Increase in Marijuana Sales

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Legal sales of recreational and medical cannabis products reached $996 million in Colorado during 2015. The state’s tax coffers rose by $135 million from taxes and fees on marijuana, and more than $35 million of that total is earmarked for school construction projects.

Sales in 2014 totaled $699 million, which indicates year-over-year growth of about 30%, and tax collections totaled $76 million.

Sales in Colorado are projected to rise to $1.5 billion in 2016, a 50% year-over-year increase, according to the fourth edition of the “State of Legal Marijuana Markets” report compiled by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research. The legal market in 2015 in the United States totaled $5.7 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2014, an increase of 24%.

Giadha DeCarcer, founder and CEO of New Frontier, said:

Colorado is the most advanced cannabis market in the country. The state has been a case study for other jurisdictions debating if and how to legalize cannabis. Colorado’s refinement of their marijuana business regulations have helped to push the state’s legal cannabis market past the $1 billion mark.

CEO of ArcView, Troy Dayton, said:

By 2016, Colorado will account for 21% of the total U.S. market for cannabis. Demand has been strongly fueled by residents and tourists and will continue to do so with the growth of the canna-tourism market. Nearly half of the state’s visitors chose Colorado as their destination, in part, because of the cannabis market.

The survey cited four significant factors fueling the growth of the Colorado marijuana market:

  • High rates of cannabis use, even before legalization
  • Strong population growth, especially for millennials
  • Strong tourism demand; the state tourism bureau reported that 8% of 71 million visitors to Colorado visited a cannabis dispensary
  • Strong demand for concentrates, edibles and infused products, which cost more than flower

The New Frontier/ArcView survey suggests that Colorado’s recreational market alone will grow to more than $2 billion by 2020. The medical market is expected to post revenues of more than $1.5 billion in the same year.