Data Dive: Cannabis Sales Keep Climbing in Washington and Colorado

Published on June 23, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020

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.

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

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Gage Peake
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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