By Ricardo Baca, The Cannabist Staff
Marijuana sales in Colorado saw a 10 percent bump in August — and industry leaders don’t expect that growth to slow anytime soon.
The sales of recreational and medical marijuana in Colorado each jumped more than 10 percent from July to August 2014, according to numbers released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
In August, customers purchased more than $33 million in recreational cannabis — up from $29.7 million in July and $24.7 million in June. Consumers bought more than $32.2 million in medical marijuana in August — up from $28.9 million in July and $28.6 million in June.
The marijuana tax numbers are also adding up. Since Jan. 1, Colorado has brought in more than $45.2 million in taxes, licenses and fees for recreational and medical marijuana.
Industry experts attribute the growth of the recreational market to the ever-expanding number of stores opening throughout the state.
“Every day that goes by, or at least every week, we have new recreational marijuana businesses opening in Colorado, and that helps explain the increase in tax revenue,” said Mike Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group. “The industry is expanding its reach. Recreational is going to continue getting bigger than medical.”
The total sales for recreational and medical pot, individually, remain close, less than $1 million in difference. But recreational sales are still outpacing medical sales — a trend that only started in July. And with one of the biggest cities in the state soon opening its first recreational marijuana shop, these sales and tax numbers will only continue to grow, said Elliott.
“Within the next month we’ll have the first shops opening in Aurora, which is a huge city,” said Elliott. “What we’re probably going to see is a huge bump in the recreational sales numbers beginning in another month or two because of Aurora coming on line.”