Despite the ongoing pandemic and concerns about the economy, 2021 proved to be the best year on record for Colorado’s cannabis industry, which reported a new annual record for sales of $2.22 billion.
The previous high was reached just a year earlier, with $2.19 billion in sales in 2020. To date, Colorado retailers have sold more than $12 billion worth of cannabis since sales began in January 2014.
The record sales total resulted in more than $423 million in tax revenue for the state, also a record. Tax revenue comes from the state sales tax (2.9%) on marijuana sold in stores, the state retail marijuana sales tax (15%) on retail marijuana sold in stores, and the state retail marijuana excise tax (15%) on wholesale sales/transfers of retail marijuana. Sales revenue and tax have increased every year in Colorado.
The Medical Enforcement Division also reported in January that it had officially exceeded its diversity licensing goals six months earlier than originally planned. According to data from the MED, 16.9% of cannabis businesses in the state are minority-owned, topping the goal of 16.8% well before its June 30, 2022 deadline. According to the report, the state has now issued 50 social equity licenses, including four in December.
— Brian Beckley