January of each year kicks of the height of tourism season and Colorado and this year, that meant record marijuana sales for the state.
In January of this year alone, the Department of Revenue reported $36.4 million of recreational marijuana sold, and around $2.35 million of that is going directly to the public school system. This marks a nearly 60% increase in sales year over year, with only $14.69 million sold in January 2014 compared to the $36.4 million in January 2015.
The first year of legalization for Colorado taught us some valuable lessons on what legal marijuana looks like, but it appears the industry is still growing. The state missed it’s anticipated $70 million in tax revenue, but still netted $44 million in revenue for the year. The tax revenue is still anticipated to grow by many due to cannabis tourism and the amount of residents making the switch from medical patients to the much more lucrative recreational customer.
This migration of medical patients is illustrate by a 13% decrease in medical sales from 2014 to 2015 (from $31.21 million to $28 million). Last year, the state sold more medical marijuana than recreational marijuana. As the tide begins to shift, it is likely that more and more tax revenue will filter in to the Colorado Department of Revenue, helping to support public schools and infrastructure for the state.
By now, you probably know that legal marijuana hasn’t caused the sky to fall in states like Washington and Colorado. Even our nation’s capitol has now taken it’s first step into the social experiment with legalized cannabis.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some still sketchy parts of the cannabis culture, presumably carried over from the dark ages of criminalization of the herb. Vocativ just produced a segment highlighting one unseen and unexpected problem with cannabis legalization: dumpster diving for weed. With the state of Colorado producing around 13 tons of marijuana per month, it comes as no surprise that some of that weed gets wasted.
This is where the guy at the park (you know the one who plays hacky-sack from whom you used to get your weed) comes in. Apparently, Colorado dispensaries are throwing away so much trim that dumpster diving yields a profitable amount of weed. Just ask ‘Dumpsta Love,’ the Denver dumpster diving entrepreneur. According to Dumpsta Love, he is making $2,500 a month by pulling unused trim out of grow house dumpsters and turning it into concentrates.
It is, of course, highly illegal to break locks off of locked dumpsters. Furthermore, making your own butane concentrates is illegal in Denver, and extremely dangerous. Aside from the legal and safety risks that Dumpsta Love is taking, we’re wondering – who the hell would smoke these dumpster dabs?
Beyond the bustling city limits of Denver are the vast and majestic Rocky Mountains which draw in millions of tourists each year. If you’re not from Colorado, you may have been skiing in Vail or Breckenridge, but swept right past some of the friendly Front Range towns on your way through. Last week the Whaxy Staff stopped in to the small but quaint town of Central City, home of 6 casinos and a few charming dispensaries.
One of the first things that you may notice upon pulling up to Green Grass Dispensary is it’s unique character. Bellied up to the side of a steep mountain and right down the street from multiple casinos, it would be hard to miss the dispensary, even passing through the town.
The shop has both recreational and medicinal marijuana, with a plethora of products to choose from. Their wide selection of edibles would satisfy almost any appetite for ganja, and we heard them recommend Sweet Grass Kitchen’s Pumpkin Pie more than once. Beyond munchies, the store has 2 award winning strains among their many fragrant flowers. Their 2014 1st place THC Classic awards are proudly displayed; one for their Grape Ape indica and the other for their Lucky Charms hybrid. If one of those didn’t catch your eye, then you would surely be staring at the glass equivalent of the human centipede. Approach with caution.
We asked the friendly budtender, Cullen, for his top recommendations in Central City. Cullen obliged with his list of the best bud, beer, and burgers in the town. He showed no hesitation before snatching his favorite strain, the pungent smelling Aspen OG hybrid. Along with that, Cullen recommended stopping by Gilpin Market where you can grab an Elk Burger and an Oatmeal Stout; two of his personal favorites.
The kind folks at Green Grass sent us home with a sugary-delicious preroll of their award-winning Lucky Charms. We can assure you the strain name is not just a gimmick. A dry hit may have you convinced that there are some magically delicious marshmallows rolled up in the center of the spliff. The Lucky Charms offered a well-balanced, energetic, cerebral high that made us smile.
Although we didn’t get a chance to indulge in an Elk Burger or an Oatmeal Stout, Central City left an impression on us. The old gold mining city had a unique aura and the kind folks at Green Grass were helpful and hospitable. Whether you planning your gambling trip or looking to ski some powder at nearby Eldora Ski Resort, a stop through this locally owned dispensary just might be your lucky charm.
Around 2:00 AM Wednesday morning 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary was intruded and looted by 2 unknown individuals. The 2 unidentified robbers wore ski masks and gloves. The suspects entered through the cultivation area of the building which is at the back of the dispensary.
Surveillance video captured the entire act, and this footage will likely be used to get more clues about the robbery. The incident occurred at the store’s Brighton Boulevard location near 43rd, just a few blocks south of I70.
The thieves reportedly only left the building carrying bags filled with what appears to be just fertilizer.
Luckily, no people were harmed during this robbery.
Recreational legalization of marijuana is nearly eleven months old in Colorado and the industry is enticing consumers from across the country. As reported by some dispensaries located on the borders of Colorado, as much as 40% of their business comes from out of state visitors.
Garden City, a teeny tiny town of about ~250 people on the south border of Greely has four dispensaries that are generating big business and tax revenues. What’s most important is the support the local community is showing the recent entrepreneurial successes. One of the biggest problems marijuana tax revenue is solving? Pot holes, they’re gone – all of them.
“The benefits we’ve seen is that the city council has put a lot of that money back into their city”
Stephen Lewchuk, operations manager of Smokey’s recreational marijuana shop located in Garden City, said.
The most staggering statistic is the overall jump in monthly tax revenues for the small Colorado city. Before legalization monthly revenues were approximately $16,000 a month, post legalization they have grown to more than $100,000 – a 425% increase. As small cities and states across the country continue to fast steep budget deficits, we can only hope elected officials look to the wide range of success stories like Garden City when shaping their local policies.