DENVER – The recreational marijuana industry is catching up to the medical industry in Colorado in terms of the number of licenses issued by the state, and a tiny northeastern Colorado town has one of the highest concentration of licenses in the state.
The new insight into the state’s burgeoning marijuana industry comes from a compilation of state data by Paul Seaborn, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, in his latest report: “Colorado Marijuana Market Report.”
Seaborn used monthly marijuana licensing data from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division to note changes in the number of licenses issued statewide over the past several years.
He notes that there are now more active marijuana businesses in Colorado than ever before – a blow to the notion that the wave of other states legalizing marijuana might hurt the nation’s first legal recreational industry.
In fact, Seaborn found, the recreational industry has nearly caught up to the medical industry in terms of the number of businesses operating in the state.
The report says that recreational businesses now account for 47.5 percent of marijuana business in Colorado (up from 45.5 percent in December 2016), and that medical businesses made up 52.5 percent (down from 54.5 percent in December).
The report adds that retail dispensary, cultivation and manufacturing licenses have increased in number since December, while their medical counterparts have decreased.
Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000 and implemented its recreational program in 2014 after voters approved its legalization in 2012. Recreational marijuana sales outpaced medical sales last year , when the state sold $1.3 billion worth of pot.
Denver continues to account for more than one-third of the state’s licenses, according to the report, which found that Colorado Springs, Boulder, Pueblo and Pueblo West rounded out the top five. Trinidad surpassed Aurora for the first time in numbers of active licenses.
But cracking the top 15 cities in terms of the number of licenses for the first time was tiny Log Lane Village – a town of about 900 near Fort Morgan along I-76 in northeastern Colorado.
There are 18 active business licenses in the tiny town, meaning there is one business license for roughly every 50 people in the town. By comparison, Denver has about one license per every 560 residents, when using July 2016 population data.
The report shows that 121 towns and cities in Colorado now have at least one active marijuana business license.
Native Roots and LivWell continue to have the largest number of licenses, and Green Solution has the third-most. But Seaborn’s report says that no single business has more than 2.1 percent of the state’s licenses.
For more, read the full report here.