| The Pueblo Chieftain
Colorado has reported its highest-selling year for marijuana, and while a record cannot be confirmed, Pueblo dispensaries have followed suit in outpacing at least last year’s pot sales numbers through the first 10 months of the year.
According to the Associated Press, the Colorado Department of Revenue said dispensaries made $200 million in October, pushing the state’s annual revenue to more than $1.8 billion this year and making it the high-selling year since recreational pot hit the market in 2014, the Denver Post reported. Last year, sales across the state reached about $1.75 billion.
Colorado News: Colorado reports highest-selling year in state for marijuana
In the city of Pueblo, retail marijuana sales are up $50,000 in 2020 from January through October compared with the same time period a year ago, according to Mayor Nick Gradisar.
The city has received almost $200,000 more in excise taxes this year compared with 2019. Medical marijuana sales are up $26,000 over last year.
Gradisar said he’s not sure why marijuana sales have increased this year.
There are eight retail marijuana stores in the city this year, just as there were in 2019. And the city has 25 total marijuana licenses, including medical facilities, grow facilities and retail shops.
Pueblo County has also seen an increase in marijuana sales this year, according to County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz.
Through November, the county has already collected more in total excise taxes than it has in any of the previous four years.
So far, about $5.5 million in excise tax has been collected. For all of 2019, excise taxes amounted to $3.2 million. That toal was $2 million in 2018, $1.1 million in 2017 and $359,780 in 2016, according to data provided by the county.
The total amount of retail taxes collected has increased this year as well, though some of that can be attributed to an increase in the tax rate from 3.5% to 6% this year.
The two Strawberry Fields retail marijuana shops in Pueblo said they haven’t seen a bump in sales this year.
Rich Kwesell, who co-owns the stores with his brother, said sales have been flat or maybe even a little bit down this year compared with a typical year.
“I can see how maybe in some jurisdictions that was the case (with pot sales being up) but I think more than anything we’re just thankful to be open,” Kwesell said. “It’s hard to say if it’s because there’s more competition in town now or, of course, restrictions like curbside that stifled things a little bit.
“Our stores are geared for a lot of energy and not necessarily distancing, so that’s been a bit of a change for us, but we’ve gotten over it and I’m super proud of the team for all the hurdles we’ve overcome.”