Marijuana on display at Colorado pot shop High Country Healing. (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

Did Colorado pot shops sell $1 billion of weed in 2015?

Annual Colorado pot sales through November 2015 are nearing $900 million. So will they reach $1 billion when December data is released? Here's our best estimate, which we feel good about

When we first tallied Colorado pot sales for 2014, the first full year of legal cannabis sales in the world mind you, $699,198,805 seemed like such a large number at the time.

And then our minds started racing: What if weed sales in Colorado reached $1 billion in 2015? What would that say about the potential of the legal cannabis industry if a medium-sized state like Colorado, population 5.4 million, could sell more than a billion dollars of pot in its second year of recreational sales? (For perspective, Washington state has 7 million residents while California is pushing 39 million.)

As we reported earlier today, the Colorado Department of Revenue just released November 2015 tax numbers for the state’s marijuana shops, and our calculations show that Colorado stores sold $894,865,100 of legal pot in the first 11 months of 2015. Even though we’re still missing December numbers — keeping us from any complete, year-end figures until mid-February — the question pops back into our minds:

Did Colorado pot shops sell $1 billion of weed in 2015?

We’ll know for sure a month from now when that data is released by the state, but for now we feel relatively confident saying that no, Colorado weed won’t reach that magical $1 billion number in 2015 — but it’s going to be pretty dang close.

colorado flag
(Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

In order for Colorado to reach $1 billion in pot sales in 2015, December’s marijuana sales numbers would have to be equal to or greater than $105,134,900. That means December would have to outperform the current best-selling month of Colorado’s cannabis era, which was August 2015, when the state’s shops sold more than $100 million of product in one month — or $100,599,116 to be exact.

While we expect an upturn in cannabis sales from November to December 2015 — perhaps somewhat mirroring the month-to-month increase we witnessed in December 2014, when medical pot sales jumped 15 percent and recreational marijuana sales skipped up 12 percent — we don’t expect the 30 percent month-over-month spike that would be required for the 2015 totals to top $1 billion.

But … what about 2016?