Colorado marijuana shops pulled in nearly $109 million in recreational and medical marijuana sales in January.
For the eighth consecutive month in a row, Colorado’s marijuana sales have reached over $100 million. Colorado surpassed the $100 million mark for the first time last August, and continued to do so through this January, when cannabis shops sold nearly $109 million.
Marijuana-focused news publication The Cannabist used state tax revenue data to calculate Colorado’s monthly sales figures. Recreational cannabis sales totaled $77.9 million for January 2017, up from $21.4 million from January the year before. The month’s medical marijuana sales reached $31.1 million, down 2.8 percent from a year ago.
Medical marijuana sales in Colorado have steadily declined since August, when dispensaries had set a record high of $41.4 million. The number of active patients registered with Colorado’s medical marijuana program has also gradually dropped. In December 2015, there were 107,554 active patients. As of December 31, 2016, that number had dipped to 94,577.
“As recreational pricing falls to the same level as medical pricing – especially for the ‘1 ounce’ quantity – the benefit of using medical dispensaries is falling to zero,” economist Miles Light told The Cannabist.
Overall, Colorado’s January 2017 sales were 23 percent higher than January 2016. The state generated $17.7 million in revenue from taxes and licensing fees. A 2.9 percent sales tax is applied to medical and retail marijuana, and an extra 10 percent special sales tax is applied to retail marijuana. Nearly a quarter of the state revenue from cannabis sales is earmarked for school construction projects and some of the surplus will go to programs to combat school bullying. Pueblo County recently announced it would be using its marijuana tax money to fund college scholarships for its high school seniors.
Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational sale of marijuana, allows adults ages 21 and older to legally possess and privately consume up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Retail sales started in 2014, and since then the state’s market has experienced three straight years of growth. It pulled in $1.3 billion in marijuana sales in 2016, over $300 million more than the year before.
According to The Cannabist, economists say it’s unlikely that Colorado’s marijuana market will be able to outdo itself again in 2017. With now eight U.S. states legalizing adult use marijuana, it’s expected that tourists will begin to buy cannabis elsewhere.
Colorado lawmakers are currently considering a new measure that would limit the number of marijuana plants a person can grow at home. As it stands now, adults can cultivate up to six plants on their property, but there’s concern that residents are growing more than is personally needed and diverting the excess to the black market. The measure has been approved by the Colorado House of Representatives and it is expected to pass the Senate. Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he is in favor of tighter restrictions.