In the fourth quarter of 2021, the Colorado Department of Revenue released its annual report on the state’s cannabis industry for the year of 2020.
Although much of the information is old news by the time the report is published, it’s still a treasure trove of data and details and probably the best annual report produced by any state where cannabis is legal for medical or adult use.
Here are some of the tidbits that stood out:
– Concentrates are often identified as the fastest growing category of cannabis products, but in 2020, it was largely flower that fueled the record-setting pandemic boom — at least in terms of volume. Consumers purchased 583,798 pounds of bud in 2020 — an increase of 66.6% over 2019.
However, consumers also bought more concentrates (an increase of 16.8%, by weight) and edibles (an increase of 16.1%, by units sold).
– Although Denver County still dominates the state in cannabis production, the numbers are beginning to balance out. Denver produced 42% of the total usable marijuana in Colorado in 2020 compared to 48% in 2019. Back in 2017, Denver produced 59% of the state’s total usable marijuana.
– In total, Colorado’s licensed cannabis growers in 2020 harvested nearly 3.7 million plants and produced more than 1.8 million pounds of usable marijuana (776,200 pounds from Denver alone). That equals about half a pound of marijuana per plant harvested.
However, in Las Animas County, licensed growers apparently produced 210,245 pounds of marijuana, while harvesting 83,999 plants — an average of 2.5 pounds per plant.
The only other county that came anywhere near Las Animas’ per-plant-poundage was Clear Creek, which averaged about 1.2 pounds per plant in both 2020 and 2019. In 2019, Las Animas County produced 36,086 pounds of marijuana from 48,621 plants — an average of 0.7 pounds per plant.
According to a spokesperson for the Marijuana Enforcement Division, the 2020 numbers are accurate and not a typo. Marijuana Venture could not independently confirm or explain that number.
– The cannabis industry has long been noted for being a high-turnover business, and Colorado’s tracking of occupational licenses supports that stereotype. In 2020, the average percentage of occupational licenses renewed was just 32.1% (all occupational licenses are issued and renewed for a two-year period). Although that number was a bump up from 2019, when 27.9% of licenses were renewed — possibly due to the industry’s relative stability during the COVID pandemic — that number still pales in comparison to the 45% of renewals in 2015, when Colorado’s industry was much smaller.
– The average lifecycle of a marijuana plant harvested in 2020 was 126 days, continuing a trend of that number being reduced by two days each year since the state of Colorado began reporting the lifecycle of plants in 2017 (the average lifecycle was 128 days in 2019, 130 days in 2018 and 132 days in 2017). Perhaps this falling number is representative of growers shifting toward genetics that are more suitable for a profit-driven commercial market or better understanding the efficiencies of growing and harvesting a commercial crop.
— Garrett Rudolph