Legal cannabis shops in Colorado brought in almost $600 million in revenue from selling medical and recreational pot and infused products during the first six months of 2016, according to new statistics from the state. Total sales could top $1.3 billion by New Year’s Day.
Colorado’s legal markets for medical and recreational marijuana nearly broke records for monthly sales between January and June, according to the data from the state’s Department of Revenue. The $73.6 million dollars recorded by the industry in June marked the second-busiest month for retail pot shops this year, behind April.
Voters in Colorado legalized cannabis for recreation in 2012, and Washington. Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia followed in 2014. At least two more states will vote on legalization in November, and at least another three could add initiatives to their ballots in time for Election Day.
A total of 25 states now allow full medicinal cannabis while another 15 permit a non-intoxicating form of the drug for limited medical uses. The nation’s rapidly growing market for legal marijuana, both medical and recreational, is already bringing in billions of dollars each year.
The year’s haul for the state’s legal cannabis industry peaked in April with total revenue of $76.5 million for the month. April 20, pot smokers’ official holiday, usually brings in the highest sales of the year.
MMJ surpased recreational sales
Recreational sales failed to surpass those of medicinal pot yet again, with MMJ earning $38.1 million compared to $35.5 million on the recreational market. Overall, sales are on pace to beat the $996 million recorded in 2015 and could surpass $1.35 billion, according to The Cannabist, a blog published by the Denver Post.
“The rate of growth in this industry never ceases to astound us,” said BDS Analytics founder Roy Bingham. “The combined recreational and medical markets are more than two years old, yet they both continue to expand rapidly, especially the recreational marketplace. And within the overall market, sales in every segment, from concentrates to flower to edibles, continue to swell.”
Industry is rapidly expanding
Much of the market’s expansion came from the exploding popularity of potent hash oil and other marijuana concentrates. These products include CBD oil, tinctures, and topical lotions. Sales of extracts jumped 73 percent over the last year, to a 24 percent share of sales; sales of edible products increased to a 13 percent market share; and bud sales dropped to 56 percent, according to BDS.
Booming cannabis sales across Colorado generated more than $26 million in tax revenue for the state in the first six months of the year, BDS said. That money was collected off a 10 percent marijuana sales tax, a 15 percent wholesale excise tax, and the state’s standard 2.9 percent sales tax. These levies are used to pay for construction of public schools.
Since the first legal retail cannabis sales in January 2014, Colorado officials say, the state has pulled in more than $88 million in taxes and fees from the recreational and medical markets. And that success has already made legalization dramatically more appealing to voters and lawmakers in other parts of the country.
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