Colorado set a record high in 2017 with marijuana sales reaching $1.5 billion, according to data released by the Colorado Department of Revenue on Friday.
Most of marijuana revenue in Colorado came from recreational sales, which brought in $1.09 billion over the year. Medical sales reached $416.52 million.
Although Colorado marijuana sales saw their biggest year yet, analyists and economic experts agree that sales have almost peaked and will begin to plateau in the near future.
In 2014, recreational weed was legal to buy throughout Colorado. It was the Wild West all over again, but instead of gold it was green people were after. People flocked to Colorado in droves. By the end of the year, Colorado had sold $683.5 million worth of legal marijuana.
In 2015, marijuana sales continued to increase in Colorado. Sales topped off at $995.5 million. In 2016, sales grew 30 percent and the state surpassed $1 billion in marijuana sales for the first time. $100 million a month became the new norm.
In 2017, things began to slow down a bit. While sales did reach a new high of $1.5 billion, there was only a 15.3 percent increase.
According to Paul Seaborn, assistant professor who taught the first Business of Marijuana Course at University of Denver, “We’re no longer growing at 40 percent and 30 percent. We’re still not quite at the peak and should still see 5-10 percent sales growth.”
Others aren’t so sure.
Miles Light is a founding partner at Marijuana Policy Group, a Denver-based policy and economic consulting firm in the cannabis industry.
“I personally believe,” says Light, “that sales will decline in 2018, versus 2017.”
He also believes that the marijuana industry in Colorado will feel an impact from other states who have passed recreational laws. He adds that in addition, there will be continued pressure to lower prices on retail cannabis.
Light’s business partner, Adam Orens believes, “We’re starting to see the leveling off of the market after the illicit market is absorbed.”
Orens estimates around 90 percent of Colorado’s black market cannabis sales have been absorbed by legal cannabis sales, and “we’re starting to see the end of that absorption.”
He also said that as the cannabis market matures in the state that growth will become much slower and become more dependent upon influences like population growth.
Even if sales do level out and eventually plateau, Colorado’s still making over a billion dollars a year on weed. We’ll take that as a win.