Recreational marijuana sales in Steamboat surpass $10M | SteamboatToday.com

Recreational marijuana sales in Steamboat surpass $10M

Marijuana issues in Routt County

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The marijuana business continues to thrive in Steamboat Springs, but there a few signs that it is slowing down.

For the first time, recreational marijuana sales surpassed $10 million in Steamboat. When combined with medical marijuana sales, Steamboat's three stores sold $12.25 million worth of cannabis products.

That meant $489,885 in sales tax revenue for the city of Steamboat based on the city's cut of 4 percent.

Marijuana business owners have said they expect sales to plateau at some point, especially as other states legalize recreational cannabis sales. But it does not look like the plateau has been hit yet.

"I do foresee increased growth," City Finance Director Kim Weber said.

Through November, statewide marijuana sales for 2017 were $1.38 billion.

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The city of Steamboat began releasing its sales tax collections from marijuana stores in 2015, and month-to-month sales have increased every year.

The biggest month to date was March 2017, when $1,009,000 worth of marijuana was sold. That was the first full month shops were allowed to extend their hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The city of Steamboat tracks its sources of sales tax revenue using seven categories, including marijuana, which had the biggest year-over-year increase of 16 percent in 2017.

Despite this, it still only accounts for about 1 percent of the city's annual sales tax revenue. By comparison, liquor store sales account for about 3 percent of the city's annual sales tax revenue.

Weber said she expects marijuana to continue to outpace the other business categories in terms of growth, especially as the businesses evolve.

"I think it will continue with the change in locations," Weber said.

Late last year, the Natural Choice store located in a warehouse space on the west side of Steamboat moved to a more visible location at the Curve Plaza commercial center. The name of the store was also changed to Billo.

Rocky Mountain Remedies, Steamboat's first marijuana dispensary also in a warehouse in west Steamboat, is seeking approval from the city to move to a location between downtown and Steamboat Ski Area.

Golden Leaf has maintained its original location on Lincoln Avenue between downtown and west Steamboat.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.