So much for the Colorado cannabis market peaking.
According to state data, Colorado reached an all-time high in monthly retail and medicinal sales in March with US$142 million. The record month is five per cent higher than last March totals of US$135 million.
Colorado was the first of 10 states to legalize cannabis in 2014, and annual sales continue to climb each year despite a drop in marijuana tourism. Coloradans have spent US$386 million on marijuana in the first three months of 2019 and are on pace to breaking last year’s sales record of US$1.54 billion.
The US$28 million in medicinal marijuana sales was the highest since December, which is the one area of sales that has seen an overall decline since peaking in 2016.
And although the 4/20 event in April draws strong sales for a weekend, sales in the month are not expected to rise over March, according to the trend of years past. Since Colorado has one of the more mature legal markets in the world, the seasonal trendlines could be something to watch.
Broader demographics driving growth
Cannabis retailers in Colorado suggest the continued growth in sales is due to a wider range in consumers, especially with the fastest growing demographics in older people.
Terrapin Care Station is a large dispensary chain in the state and it speculates that safety is a key consideration as well.
“Regulated places to purchase cannabis, so people who might have been unwilling or hesitant to get involved in the first place, are now seeing that it’s totally acceptable,” company spokesman Peter Marcus told Fox KDVR.
Safety may be a concern for first-time users and older generations. And with Colorado being one of the most mature cannabis markets, it may show other states and the Canadian market that responsible rules and regulations allows for social acceptance and growth.
And further clinical research on the medical side of cannabis, while also potentially removing stigma that marijuana is a serious gateway drug, might help further reduce resistance for federal legalization in the U.S.
Meanwhile, it’s looking like another record year for the cannabis industry in Colorado as the state continues to be at the forefront on legalization.