Workers trim marijuana plants at High Country Healing in Silverthorne in January 2015. (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

Colorado marijuana shops maintain $136M pace for third straight month

Colorado marijuana sales are holding steady.

Cannabis shops across the state sold a little more than $136.6 million in flower, edibles, concentrates and accessories for September 2017, according to The Cannabist’s calculations on tax statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Revenue.

It’s the third month in a row that combined recreational and medical cannabis sales reached $136 million; there were $100.8 million in recreational sales and $35.8 million in medical, The Cannabist’s extrapolations show.

Through nine months of 2017, Colorado shops rang up $1.16 billion in transactions, according to The Cannabist’s calculations. Through September of last year, sales totaled $974.3 million.

Three-quarters through 2017, marijuana sales totals are up 19 percent from the comparable period a year prior, according to The Cannabist’s archive data. The state report does not disclose sales data.

The annual growth rates have been steadily slowing since spring 2017, sliding down from 36 percent at the end of March to 23 percent in July and, now, 19.2 percent through September.

The leveling off of monthly sales and the slowing of annual growth rates align with projections previously made by economists and analysts. Sales will moderate as the market naturally matures and other states adopt recreational cannabis measures, industry observers have said.

The latest monthly report from the state revenue department lists marijuana taxes and license fees remitted by cannabis businesses during October. The receipts largely reflect sales made in September, but there is a potential for some variance because of incomplete or late returns from prior months.

Looking at state taxes and licensing fees, nearly $185 million has been collected through September 2017.

September is the third month during which marijuana sales have been subject to a new taxing structure.

The special sales tax rate for recreational marijuana increased to 15 percent from 10 percent in July, the result of a new law that also exempted recreational marijuana products from the 2.9 percent standard state sales tax. Medical marijuana and accessories are still subject to that 2.9 percent sales tax rate.

The Cannabist’s calculations for recreational sales in July, August and September 2017 are based on tax revenue reported for the new 15 percent sales tax rate.

Cannabist digital producer Aleta Labak contributed to this report.

Sales stats for Colorado weed
A month-by-month look comparing sales of recreational and medical marijuana, as calculated by The Cannabist:

2017 Recreational total (9 months)
2017 Medical total (9 months)
2017: $1,161,650,194
2016 Recreational total (12 months)
2016 Medical total (12 months)
2016: $1,313,156,545