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Data Dive: Cannabis Sales Keep Climbing in Washington and Colorado

June 23, 2017
(Elaine Thompson/AP)
The two first movers within the United States legal cannabis industry—Washington and Colorado—have both seen solid, year-over-year sales growth over the first four months of each year, according to data from state regulators.

Compiling sales numbers from both the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, and the Colorado Department of Revenue, Leafly was able to visualize just how much each state’s legal cannabis industry has grown during the past few years.

In the first graph, below, you can see that sales increased in both Washington and Colorado from 2016 to 2017 in the January–April quarter.Washington saw the biggest difference, with first four months of 2017 yielding year-over-year sales increases of 55% to nearly 80%. Colorado’s sales increases, though positive, were much mellower than those in the Evergreen State.


Washington Is Overtaking Colorado in Cannabis Sales

Similar were seen from 2015 to 2016, as Washington’s cannabis industry—which launched after Colorado’s—began to hit its stride and make significant gains over two years. Washington saw year-over-year increases of more than 100% in each of the first four months of 2016. Again, Colorado’s total sales increases were slower and steadier, holding around 30% to 40%.

A month-by-month look at Colorado’s sales data suggest the state’s legal cannabis market tends to grow around 30% each year.

The table below shows the growth between Colorado’s first year of legal cannabis, 2014, and its second full year of legal sales, 2015.

StateYearMonth2014 TotalYear 2Month 22015 Total % change
Colorado2014January $45,869,275.86
2015January $62,359,275.86
Colorado2014February $50,359,620.69
2015February $66,194,793.10
2015April $71,864,862.07
Gage Peake's Bio Image

Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • Tim Cook

    yes we love our plant in Washington.

    • Gary Craig

      We all “love the plant.” It’s just you people have the freedom to use it, while many of us don’t!

  • Todd Burgess

    When the Washington State Cannabis board came into being, the end of easy medical access became the norm. Recreational stores are around, but I’m talking about the small time dispensary where you could actually make an informed purchase ( seeing and smelling ). The rec stores have everything pre-packaged, dried beyond useability and very expensive. IF you wish to go through the medical authorization to avoid the excess taxation, that is your personal liberty-destroying choice. Wa state is money grubbing to the detriment of the people that pay taxes to support it. To think the black market will not respond would be like turning your attention away from the for profit prison system that is blossoming, as I type this.
    As Pee-Wee Herman used to sing, ” Connect the dots, la la la la.”

  • Shelly Hill

    That’s because Washington has always been #1 for cannabis, CO just stole our thunder because their election ended 1 hour earlier.