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Colorado marijuana sales hit record high

Posted at 3:47 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 17:47:41-05

COLORADO – The state of Colorado hit a marijuana milestone in 2018.

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014, Colorado has now topped $6 billion in total marijuana sales.

Data released from the Colorado Department of Revenue reveal medical marijuana sales in Colorado have declined in recent years. Sales peaked in 2016 at nearly $500 million but have slowly decreased. There are currently over 450 medical marijuana centers operating in Colorado.

Since 2014, retail marijuana sales have increased every year. Sales topped over $1 billion in 2018 with 550 recreational stores across Colorado.

Behind those numbers are success stories. Paul Lyons is the Vice President of Operations at Nuvue Dispensary, the first recreational dispensary to operate in Pueblo. He says the store is reaping the benefits of the big sales.

“The industry is growing and it’s staying strong. It allows us to know that it’s not just a fly-by-night, it’s not just a passing phase,” Lyons said.

But despite the $6 billion milestone, there is more behind the numbers released last week by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.

After sales increases of $200 million to $300 million each year since legalization, numbers climbed less than $40 million from 2017 to 2018.

Lyons believes the industry saw such a huge surge in the first several years and now it is tapering off which he says is good for an industry that needs some stability.

Competition from other states where marijuana is now legal and survival of the fittest plays a huge factor in the slowing growth.

Currently, 10 states plus the District of Columbia allow medical and recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older.

“Because of the difficulties of getting a store, getting a license, getting approved, it really slowed up a lot of people getting into the business. Some for good reasons. Some [people] shouldn’t be in the business,” Lyons said.

Despite the slowing growth, last year was still the best year ever for marijuana sales in Colorado, bringing in more than $1.5 billion in sales in 2018 alone.