For the tenth consecutive month, legal cannabis sales in Colorado have reached more than $100 million with March setting a new record of $132 million in combined medical and recreational sales, according to state Department of Revenue figures outlined by the Cannabist. Sales tax revenues derived from legal cannabis sales in March topped $22.9 million.
Adult use sales represented $93.3 million of March’s record-breaking sales, while medical cannabis sales totaled $38.4 million.
The March sales are 48 percent higher than sales from March 2016 and represents the end of the quarter, which saw sales up about 36 percent from the first three months of last year. In 2016, the quarterly growth year-over-year ranged from 29 percent to 36 percent. Monthly growth rates from 2015 to 2016 averaged about 34 percent, according to the Cannabist analysis.
Andrew Livingston, director of economics and research for the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, said that the year-over-year trends indicate that the market has not yet reached a point where it’s starting to “cap out the market” at which point the growth rates would decline.
Livingston added that if the growth rates stay steady April 2017 would be another banner month, and this summer would set all new records. He estimates that by the end of the year Colorado’s sales could reach $1.6 billion.
According to the Department of Revenue, ten months into the state’s fiscal year, licenses and application fees for medical cannabis businesses have fallen 8.5 percent, and 25.4 percent for retail businesses. Miles Light, an economist with the Marijuana Policy Group, said the decline “shows that fewer new firms are entering and… sales should be tapering off or declining.” However, he was surprised that sales “continue to grow so quickly.”
“We are not surprised that almost all of the sales growth is in the retail marijuana space,” he said.