Colorado’s cannabis industry grows even further in 2021 as sales break another record at $2.2 billion
Cannabis sales hit another record last year, surpassing $2.22 billion in products sold, according to Colorado Department of Revenue. This eclipses 2020 sales which reached more than $2.1 billion, which set a previous record.
Peter Marcus, spokesman for the chain of recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries Terrapin Care Station, wasn’t surprised when he saw the state’s latest numbers. Cannabis’ popularity has only grown since the plant was retailed under state license in 2014, he said. Additionally, 2021, much like its predecessor, has been filled with pandemic anxiety.
“We find that in times of crisis people tend to turn to relief, and before it was alcohol. I think this legal alternative has been a big change for people,” he said. he said, “What we’ve learned from the pandemic is that cannabis is more or less recession-proof.”
Since the state began tracking cannabis sales in January 2014, weed sold by medical and retail cannabis stores has grossed over $12.2 billion.
Retail cannabis accounted for the vast majority of sales last year, around 82% or $1.82 billion of the $2.22 billion. Business peaked in March 2021 when retailers brought in over $207 million that month.
Cannabis is a massive driver of tax revenues for Colorado, raising more than $423 million last year alone and more than $2 billion since 2014 in sales and excise taxes and fees. It is also a large employer. According to a Leafly annual reportmore than 35,500 Coloradans worked in the cannabis industry in 2021.
Despite the billions of dollars pouring into the industry, it’s “an incredibly competitive market,” Terrapin’s Marcus said. That’s changing too, which makes 2022 a little uncertain.
“You see a significant number of mergers and acquisitions, where small cannabis companies are being taken over by much larger companies. What it will do in the market, we’re not sure,” he said.
Marcus, however, is optimistic that sales will continue to rise next year.