THOMAS MITCHELL | MARCH 12, 2018 | 8:53AM | WESTWORD
Denver accounted for a major portion of the $1.5 billion worth of legal cannabis sold in Colorado in 2017. Over a third of the state's total sales were made in the Mile High City, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The DOR breaks down revenue data monthly for each county; totaling the take from last year, Westword determined that dispensaries located in Denver County sold $577.5 million worth of cannabis and cannabis produces in 2017.
Denver has nearly 1,150 active cannabis business licenses within its jurisdiction, 364 of which were for dispensaries as of February 2018, according to the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division. Although many individual dispensaries carry two licenses — one for medical sales and one for retail — Denver still has the most pot shops of any Colorado locality by far, beating its closest competitor (Colorado Springs) by triple figures. With such a concentration of pot shops in Denver, and Adams and El Paso counties limiting or outright banning retail pot, it's no surprise that Denver dominates the recreational pot trade.
Mile High sales trends largely mirror the state's, the data shows, with revenue peaking in summer months and dipping slightly as the weather gets colder in September. In August alone, Denver dispensaries collected over $53.6 million, with over $35 million of that coming from the recreational side. February was the city's lowest-earning month in 2017, totaling just over $29.5 million.
Both Denver and Colorado as a whole have enjoyed rising cannabis sales since retail operations opened in 2014, but 2018 represents the first year of legitimate regional competition. Nevada began recreational pot sales in July 2017 and California went online in January 2018, while multiple states on the East Coast are loosening their cannabis prohibition laws as well.