The population of the states should determine which cannabis markets are the largest, but for the next five years (barring a significant shake-up in the legalization timeline) the leading markets have already emerged. California, Colorado, Canada, Washington, and Michigan remain on track to lead in sales volume.
California accounted for 27% of the 2016 legal market in North America, Colorado represented 20% and Washington represented 11%.
Cannabis Retail Sales in Colorado
Colorado’s retail sales in adult-use and medical dispensaries combined grew from $699.2 million in 2014 and $996.2 million in 2015, to over $1.3 billion in 2016. In 2016, cannabis sales averaged $1.98 million per retail location in Colorado’s adult-use market and $896,000 per location in the medical channel. There were over 490 medical and 420 adult-use dispensaries in 2016.
The Denver Post reported that Colorado cannabis retailers had amassed $1.02 billion in combined recreational and medical marijuana sales through August. In 2016, by contrast, it took Colorado 10 months to hit the $1 billion sales mark.
Colorado Cannabis Market 2017
- Number of dispensaries and cultivation sites
- Number of registered patients/in-state customers
- Actual 2017 marijuana sales via dispensaries/stores
Medical: Dispensaries – 524; Cultivators – 782
Recreational: Retail Stores – 481; Cultivators – 662
Medical: 94,577 (down from 107,534 in early 2016)
Recreational: 550,000 – 610,000
Medical: $416 million (versus $438 million in 2016)
Recreational: $1.09 billion (up from $875 million in 2016)
Demand for Cannabis Concentrates in Colorado
Concentrates and edibles accounted for about a third of overall marijuana sales, up from just 24% a year earlier. Growth in concentrates sales accounted for most of that increase.
Retail sales of concentrates in the medical and recreational markets surged 125% in the last year from the same period in 2015, according to BDS Analytics, which provides cannabis industry data based on point-of-sale information it gathers from retailers. Edibles sales also rose significantly in Colorado at 53 percent market growth between the first quarter of 2016 and the same period in 2015. Those gains far outpace the 11% rise in sales of marijuana flower, however flowers still make up the large majority of legal pot sales in the state.
While all categories of cannabis products enjoyed healthy growth, alternative methods of consumption outpaced traditional flower sales. In Q1 2014 when adult-use launched in Colorado, over 70% of sales came from dried flower; in Q3 2016, that was down to 56%. In contrast, concentrate sales were $20 million in Q1 2014, or 13% of sales. By Q3 of 2016 they had quadrupled to $80 million and 22% of sales. Edibles (including candy, beverages, tinctures, and all food) more than tripled during the same period, from $17m to $53m, moving from 11% to 14% of sales. Vape pens and vape products, candy, and other portable and convenient methods of consumption are especially popular with Colorado consumers.
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