Colorado hit a new milestone as the state surpassed $2 billion in cannabis sales in 2020—without accounting for the sales numbers for December.
Recreational and medical cannabis sales totaled $175.1 million in November, with $140.5 million coming from the recreational side. Revenue was down about 12 percent compared to October but was enough to surpass the $2 billion mark. Colorado had already set a record for total cannabis sales in 2020, needing only 10 months to beat the $1.75 billion mark set in 2019. The state collected $32.4 million in taxes and fees.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, cannabis sales in the state have remained high. Cannabis businesses were deemed “essential” businesses in 25 states, including Colorado. People across the country bought more cannabis in 2020 to help combat stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
“We had this unexpected resurgence in marijuana markets that overlaps with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of nonprofit cannabis advocacy group NORML. Certainly, one of the reasons the marijuana markets remained so strong during this period of time was the fact that in almost every jurisdiction that allows legal marijuana, these producers and retailers were designated to be essential services that allowed them to continue their operations uninterrupted during a time period where many other businesses were forced to close.”
The record amount of sales means Colorado will collect a record amount of tax revenue. The first $40 million of the excise tax on wholesale cannabis revenue goes to Colorado school construction. Ten percent of the revenue from the tax on retail cannabis sales go to local governments. The remaining 90 percent is split into the State Public School Fund, the General Fund and the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund.