Retail marijuana sales in county reach high point
Retail marijuana sales in Grand County have been increasing compared to sales from last year, following a statewide trend that has led to a total of $5.2 billion in marijuana sales since its legalization in 2014.
In June, the most recent month the state had data on marijuana sales, the county reported $471,237 in retail sales, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. This is the highest amount collected in any of the reported months in this year or last year.
It is unclear what the total amount of sales in the county is because the state doesn’t release sales information that could be tied to a single business. However, two dispensaries in Tabernash, Igadi and Bonfire, have said they have seen strong sales throughout the summer.
Landon Looney, the general manager of Bonfire, said the dispensary sees anywhere from 20 to 150 customers in a day. Since the store only opened this April, Looney wasn’t able to comment on the increase in sales compared to last year, but said that the store expects business to continue increasing into the winter months when more tourists are in town.
Last year, the industry hit its peak sales in July followed by December and then August. Monthly sales of retail marijuana fluctuate in the county, but sales have been strongest during the summer and winter months.
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Compared to Routt and Summit counties, Grand County has significantly fewer retail marijuana sales. For example, Summit County’s highest recorded month for retail sales brought in over $3 million.
David Michel, the general counsel for Igadi, said the wholesale price of marijuana has dropped as supply has increased. This has created the need for the dispensary to produce a more economical product, which the dispensary is trying to achieve by increasing the yields they get from their plants.
“If you’re not innovating in this space with how young the industry is, you are going to fall behind,” Michel said. “We are actually doing our own (research and development).”
The innovations at the dispensary have lead to growing sales in the last year. Michel said the store’s sales are majority retail, with medical sales making up only 10-15 percent of the total. Specifically, marijuana concentrates, pre-rolled joints or blunts and vaping products have been big sellers at the dispensary.
“Right now, we’re talking about what to do because we can’t produce enough and that’s why we’re always looking to hire more hands,” he said. “For us, we’ve found that increasing our retail footprint with a balanced wholesale operation was a recipe for success and we’re one of the fastest growing marijuana companies in the state.”
However, even with the success Igadi has seen, Michel said that the local governments haven’t supported the dispensary in the same way they have other businesses that bring jobs to the county.
“They have allowed us this opportunity and we’re grateful for it, but we also don’t feel as if they have really tried to put the red carpet or a welcome mat,” he explained.
Since July 2017 the county has collected 10 percent of the taxes collected on retail marijuana, but the state has only two months of reported data on the amount of sales tax remitted to the county. In July the county collected $4,697 and in May they collected $2,671. So far in 2018, the state has collected over $153 million in taxes, licenses and fees.
In an effort to draw local customers, both Bonfire and Igadi offer rewards programs and price deals for residents of the county. Michel said they have a base of loyal, local customers, but their statewide reputation has drawn customers from outside the county.
“This is not just a place to come buy weed, this is an experience and people are driving up here from Denver and all over to have this experience,” Michel said.
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Ghosts, and goblins, and ghouls, oh my!