Both medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational pot shops reported record sales of more than $42 million and nearly $150 million, respectively. The new numbers represent a 29 percent rise over sales in April and a 32 percent increase over May 2019.
So far in 2020, Colorado outlets have sold more than $779 million in legal weed, generating over $167 million in taxes and fees for the state. “It’s beginning to look like cannabis is anti-recession or at least COVID-recession resistant,” said Roy Bingham, executive chairman of BDS Analytics data firm, in response to Colorado’s spiking numbers.
Bingham said he believes pandemic factors, such as people having more free time and staying home more, may have contributed to the increase. Additionally, cannabis consumers are also buying more each time they go to the dispensary, Bingham explained. This bulk-buying trend started in March when Colorado went under a statewide stay-at-home order. “Everyone has perhaps become more used to consuming a little more.”
The onset of COVID and shelter-in-place orders set in March also impacted the types of products consumers and patients bought. For instance, flower sales went down while edibles sales skyrocketed. Those numbers are starting to even out again, however, as flower sales are rebounding. This is likely caused by a drop in price. According to BDS Analytics' data, buds were selling for $4.37 per gram in May, down from about $4.71 per gram in January.
Liz Connors, director of analytics for Headset, a data firm that looks at cannabis consumer trends, said cannabis sales are likely to continue surging in June and July, driven by an uptick in tourism.
Colorado dispensaries, like many legal dispensaries around the country, were deemed "essential" at the onset of quarantine. Thus far, monthly cannabis sales in 2020 have consistently outpaced 2019, which was the highest grossing year on record. As of last December, Colorado sold $7.79 billion in legal weed. Now, with cannabis sales seeing new all-time highs, the Centennial State is on track to surpass December's figure.
If 2020's spectacular growth in sales is any indication, its that cannabis is the perfect crutch to get us through the chaos of a pandemic — hopefully it'll also help us stay sane through the upcoming election, too.