The hits just keep on coming. And in a good way. CNN reports that Colorado has broken its own Rocky Mountain high record for marijuana sales, racking up $1 billion in legal regulated sales in only the first 10 months of 2016. According to Colorado estimates, legal weed created 18,000 full-time jobs and generated $2.39 billion in economic activity in the state last year.
And 2016 ultimately promises much more green, an estimated $1.3 billion total by year’s end, according to attorney and legal cannabis advocate Christian Sederberg, who says marijuana could have a total state economic impact of over $3 billion.
Sederberg says the billion-dollar milestone clearly demonstrates that Colorado’s cannabis industry is an engine of growth for the economy, a real job creator, telling CNN: “People were consuming cannabis before, but now they are buying it from tax-regulated businesses that are benefiting the economy. This has replaced an underground, illegal market.”
He notes that cannabis has become one of Colorado’s biggest industries, and the fastest growing. “From 2015 to 2016, there has been a 53 percent increase in retail sales and a
9 percent increase in medical sales,” he says. “Medical sales are growing at a much slower rate, but recreational sales will continue to grow in the double digits.”
Doing a Few More Numbers
Monthly Marijuana sales hit an all-time high in September, $127 million, according to a report in The Cannabist, and October’s take was nearly as good at $117 million. Marijuana has already brought in nearly $50 million in tax revenue for Colorado this year, the first $40 million of which will go toward school construction projects—with any additional excise tax revenue going directly to the state’s public school fund.
How high is the future? Things are definitely looking up. With California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine all hopping on the recreational pot band wagon this year, industry analysts see a steadily rising national trend: from last year’s $5.7 billion in sales, to an expected $7.9 billion this year and up to $21 billion by 2020. That’s the kind of hockey-stick graph line that any investor would be buzzed about.