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Colorado cannabis industry booms amid COVID-19 pandemic

More than $2 million dollars of cannabis was sold in 2020
Colorado cannabis industry booms throughout COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 2:46 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 16:46:01-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — On March 9, the Colorado Department of Revenue published the monthly cannabis sales for January of 2021.

When looking at the figures from 2020, a spike can be seen during the summer months in recreational sales.

Colorado Department of Revenue recreational marijuana sales
Numbers released from the Colorado Department of Revenue show recreational and medicinal sales of marijuana over the years.

The CEO of The Green Solution, Steve Lopez, says they are the largest cannabis dispensary chain in the state. "When COVID first hit, we actually had about three weeks where our sales took a huge hit," said Lopez.

Lopez said the dispensaries have instituted several different safety measures because of the pandemic.

"A lot of different changes in 2020, but it worked out really well. Ended up having a record year... We grew by about a third last year. So, we went from $75 million in sales to over $100 million in sales after taxes," said Lopez.

Lopez said they really started seeing the increases in sales in April of 2020 and believes the erosion of the stigma surrounding cannabis played a role in that. In addition, he said the pandemic had an impact on the sales.

"People were at home, they had a lot more ability to actually indulge, and so that's why I think we saw a large increase in sales in 2020," Lopez said. "You had a lot of people that were stuck at home, and so they diverted a lot of their dollars that they spent on going out to eat and utilizing it in different ways."

Lopez believes this trend will continue and said they are already experiencing about a 28% increase in sales for January and February of 2021 versus last year.

"Right now, we feel very confident that those sales are going to remain steady, if not continue to increase in 2021," said Lopez.

The numbers of recreational users, it just boomed. But, I think any time you have a major crisis like that, that has such an impact on people's lives, the things that they use to cope always go up in sales and cannabis was one of those... 2021 is shaping up to be just as crazy of a year, and I think people are going to need some coping methods.

Bridget Seritt has been using medicinal marijuana for more than five years to treat her autoimmune diseases. She said there are around 85,000 people listed on the medical marijuana registry in Colorado, but she chose not to do that.

"My husband has to pass background checks," Seritt said. "And unfortunately, we've had several families where their spouses or children, being on the cannabis registry in Colorado, it has popped up and we couldn't risk that."

Seritt was not surprised to see the medical marijuana numbers stabilize.

"With medical cannabis, the numbers are always going to stay stable, because you're using it therapeutically, and that need does not decline," said Seritt.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations also released their 2020 crime statistics.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

*The video version of this story called Lopez the owner of The Green Solution. He is the CEO of The Green Solution.

This story was first published by Colette Bordelon at KOAA.