Growth of Summit County, state marijuana sales levels off in 2018
In Colorado, marijuana has become a billion-dollar business annually, but the latest sales reports from the Colorado Department of Revenue show the sharp surges seen over the last four years are now leveling off.
Across the state, Colorado has logged over $1.4 billion worth of medical and recreational marijuana sales from January to November 2018. With one month of the year left to report, the state trails last year’s total by almost $93 million, which puts Colorado on pace to finish out 2018 slightly above the year before.
For its part, Summit County has accounted for over $21 million of the statewide total this year. That puts Summit in the No. 11 slot on the list of Colorado counties that sold the most recreational marijuana products in 2018, ahead of Montezuma, Garfield, Mesa, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt while behind La Plata, Jefferson and Weld counties.
In 2018, monthly recreational pot sales in Colorado fluctuated from a low of $85 million in February to August’s $112 million high, but the swings were much more dramatic in tourist-dependent Summit County.
Unsurprisingly, Summit’s marijuana sales hit the floor in May and October — the two transition months between the busy summer and winter seasons — when receipts dropped to less than half of the business local pot stores typically do during Summit’s best months.
In Summit, March was the single best month for marijuana sales and the only one in which recreational pot sales eclipsed the $3 million mark in 2018. At $2.8 million and $2.5 million in January and February, respectively, they were a relatively close second and third.
In terms of marijuana sales across Colorado, Denver blows every other jurisdiction away with the state capital often exceeding $30 million in recreational pot sales most months. In fact, Denver logged over $356 million in recreational pot sales from January to November ahead of Arapahoe ($109 million), Boulder ($82 million), Adams ($76 million) and Larimer ($66 million) counties.
With $1.4 billion in sales through the first 11 months of 2018, Colorado should finish the year just ahead of 2017 and hit $6 billion in total marijuana sales dating back to 2014.
However, marijuana sales are not on the same upward trajectory that they have been.
In 2014, the first year recreational marijuana was made legal for adults 21 and up in Colorado, sales across the state totaled $683 million. The following year, Colorado’s annual marijuana sales were up to $995 million.
In 2016, the state broke the $1 billion mark for the first time in a year with $1.3 billion in sales. That was up to a record $1.5 billion by the end of 2017.
The same flattening trend has been seen in Summit County, as well.
In Frisco, double-digit monthly declines in January, October and November were mostly offset by double-digit gains in May, June and August. While Frisco’s overall sales tax receipts are up more than 6 percent in 2018, marijuana sales in town are up a scant 0.7 percent compared to the same timeframe last year.
Meanwhile, Breckenridge’s marijuana sales have also grown at a slower rate in 2018 than the town’s overall sales tax receipts. According to the town’s most recent sales tax figures, marijuana was up about 2 percent at the same time that the town’s overall sales tax receipts were about 8 percent ahead of 2017 year to date.
The most recent figures for marijuana sales in Dillon were not available on Monday. Because there’s only one marijuana dispensary in town, Silverthorne doesn’t release data related to its marijuana sales, as doing so would provide sales information specific to one business.
But not everyone believes this is the end of rising marijuana sales.
Lauren Kenney, a sales executive for LucidMood, said she doesn’t think marijuana sales will ever drop or go through a prolonged plateau in Colorado, though the market is saturated and sharp increases that immediately followed legalization are starting to subside.
LucidMood is a cannabis-extract formulation company and maker of vape pens that was founded in Colorado and now has a presence in California, Nevada, Maryland and other states that have gone legal.
Kenney points to new dispensary openings, Colorado’s population growth and a rising number of marijuana consumers as her reasons for thinking there’s still plenty of room for growth in Colorado’s marijuana sales.
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