Report: Marijuana sales in CO at $740M so far in 2015

From Marijuana News

Analysis by Boulder firm shows recreational sales up 81 percent

Preliminary data released from Boulder data analysis firm BDS Analytics has confirmed what tax revenues have already shown: Coloradans love legal pot.

All told, dispensary sales in the state were $290 million for the quarter, a 53 percent increase over last year’s $190 million quarterly sales.

Year to date, dispensary sales are about $740 million.

“Marijuana is going to be a $1 billion business in Colorado this year, or very damn close,” said Roy Bingham, founder and CEO of BDS. “It’s the fastest growing industry in America, I would say.”

A full consumer report, the first of its kind, is due out near the end of the year.

Recreational sales drove that growth, generating $170 million in revenue, up a whopping 81 percent over last year’s $94 million and far outstripping gains in medical sales: 22 percent growth from 2014 ($98 million) to 2015 ($120 million).

The actual “flower” of marijuana continues to dominate the market, with 58 percent share (roughly $168.2 million) but concentrates were in highest demand. Sales doubled for the category, and monetary gains ($45 million) matched those in the flower category.

Ingestibles, more commonly known as edibles, saw 30 percent sales growth. They now make up about 7 percent of the total market, according to the report.

That particular number seems low, said Nancy Whiteman, co-owner of Boulder-based edibles maker Wana Brands.

“Edibles, particularly in the adult use (recreational) market have become a pretty sizeable part of the revenue,” Whiteman said. She argued that the more valuable data might be the percentage of the recreational market was edibles. (The BDS data on categories combined both recreational and medical sales.)

“There’s also big geographic differences (in edibles use),” Whiteman said. “Dispensaries in tourist areas are going to see a lot higher percentage on edibles” because out-of-state visitors who “don’t have a place to smoke” prefer edibles.

“They are a lot more discreet,” she said. “We sell quite a larger percentage when we talk to our customers.”

Bingham declined to disclose the sampling size of dispensaries from which BDS draws data, saying only that it was “large enough to ensure statistical accuracy” when it comes to category data.

But, he insisted, it will only get better with time as more retailers sign on. A more comprehensive category report is due out in late December, and a follow-up, brand-level analysis should be forthcoming in January.

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