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Colorado Cannabis Commerce Hit All-Time Highs in 2017

Denver, Colorado

First of all, I apologize for the punny headline, but when you’re discussing record-breaking cannabis sales in a state that includes the Mile High City and inspired Bob Denver to pen “Rocky Mountain High” it is hard to avoid. Plus, it’s Friday.

Colorado has made a lot of headlines for the revenue marijuana has brought to the state since it became the first state to pass legalization in 2012. It made a lot of sense that the Centennial State would reap the benefits of pioneering the market, however sales have continued to exceed expectations as the state topped $1 billion, and now $1.5 billion across the state. Denver has led the way, but the rest of the state is starting to catch up a bit, as The Denver Post reported:

Denver dispensaries sold more than $587 million in marijuana in 2017 even as sales in shops in other parts of the state continue to grow.

Retail sales totaled $377 million in Denver, according to the city’s annual report on the marijuana industry released Thursday. The city’s revenue from all marijuana sales in 2017 grew to $44 million, a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

Denver uses the money to pay for regulation of the marijuana industry, enforcement of its laws and drug education. It also helps pays for maintenance, affordable housing and opioid intervention.

While the big population centers garnered the most sales, smaller border towns are benefitting financially from the surrounding prohibition states:

Las Animas County, which is on the Colorado-New Mexico border and bisected by Interstate 25, isn’t the only border county experiencing a green rush. An analysis of sales data by The Denver Post and Brian Keegan, a computational social scientist at the University of Colorado, shows that three of the five counties with the highest per-capita sales of recreational marijuana are situated along Colorado’s southern border.


Las Animas led the state in per-capita sales at $3,118, followed by neighboring Costilla County at $1,036. Montezuma County, encompassing the Four Corners region, was fifth at $735, according to calculations utilizing Colorado Department of Revenue sales data and Colorado State Demography Office population estimates.

Michigan is set to join the list of states ending marijuana prohibition this November and the cannabis revenue brought in by Colorado and other legalized states will only appeal more and more to policymakers, legislators, and voters across the nation. The cannabis industry isn’t the business choice for those wanting to get rich quick, but if you love the plant and are dedicated for the long haul, Colorado is proving that cannabis commerce can indeed be very, very profitable.

Learn the latest about cannabis laws, network with the top professionals from around the world, and get tips on how you can survive and thrive in the cannabis industry at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, Oregon, this September 27th-28th. If you know of a local Oregon business that would be a good contender to pitch their business at the Portland ICBC, be sure to spread the word about our Mom and Pop Pitch Event. Get early bird tickets by September 12th to save $200!

Brian Keegan, Colorado, Denver Post