Colorado’s marijuana industry experienced a banner year in 2020 — not in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of it.
Dispensaries across the state were declared essential businesses and allowed to operate while bars, restaurants and gyms were forced to close. That designation helped sales exceed analysts’ expectations.
According to Roy Bingham, co-founder and executive chairman of Boulder data firm BSDA, the national market grew more than 45% to $18 billion in 2020, outpacing forecasts by about $2 billion, an increase attributable to “the COVID effect.” Cannabis consumers shopped less frequently but purchased more, including many newcomers with increased at-home time on their hands, he said.
Colorado sales hit historic highs, shattering the 2019 annual record of $1.75 billion within the first 10 months of the year, according to the Department of Revenue. The state also passed legislation defining social equity in hopes of reducing the lucrative industry’s barriers to entry for people of color.
“As someone who spent a significant percentage of their life as a criminal for doing something that was not wrong at all, it’s pretty amazing to have the community and social validation from our government that cannabis is an essential good to people’s lives,” said Jordan Wellington, partner at Denver’s VS Strategies, which specializes in cannabis policy. [Read more at The Denver Post]