Denver’s Illegal Cannabis Activity Falls, but So Do Legal Sales

July 8, 2023 · Green Market Report

Nearly a decade after Colorado ushered in legal adult-use cannabis sales, police in the state’s capital city report a significant drop in illicit product on the streets.

According to the report from Denver’s municipal government, the city – which was the first in the U.S. to open adult-use marijuana retailers – has seen a 74% reduction in the amount of illegal marijuana processed by police since 2014. Denver’s leaders attribute that to a decrease in demand for unregulated products and the potential deprioritization of cannabis enforcement in the area’s current legal environment.

The city’s legal cannabis industry hasn’t been without its challenges, though. Data shows that overall cannabis sales in the state began to decline in 2022, falling 22% from the previous year. Denver registered the steepest decline, with marijuana sales decreasing 28% for the period.

Despite the sales dip, Colorado still raked in $54.8 million in cannabis tax revenue in 2022, funds the state used to address homelessness and housing affordability, in addition to education, prevention, regulation, and enforcement initiatives.

In a letter introducing the report, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock praised the city’s ability to regulate cannabis effectively, claiming that it set a global standard.

“Denver has embraced a management model that is quick, responsive, and nimble in collaboration with a fast-developing and innovative industry,” Hancock wrote.

The downturn in cannabis sales has been linked to several factors, including reduced foot traffic and tourism, increased minimum wage and regulations, and intense competition. Consequently, some businesses are considering relocating or closing down entirely if the situation doesn’t improve.

The report also pointed to a dearth of marijuana-related offenses, which now constitute only 1% of all reported offenses in Denver. Out of 87,791 total criminal offenses in 2022, only 263 were clearly related to marijuana.

Hancock noted in the report that contrary to initial concerns, youth cannabis use and crime did not spike following marijuana legalization.

“When Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana was put to Colorado voters, many feared that youth marijuana use and crime would skyrocket. To date, none of the extreme negative predictions about legalization have come to pass in the Mile High City,” Hancock wrote.

Still, the city’s social equity program, established in 2021 to boost industry participation by individuals disproportionately impacted by criminalization, seems to be struggling. Of the 1,017 registered marijuana businesses in Denver, only 20 are owned by social equity licensees, with white individuals accounting for 90% of cannabis business ownership.

Hancock stressed the need for the city to continue its efforts toward social equity within the cannabis industry: “Denver has developed a multipronged approach to remove barriers and implement changes through its social equity program so there is more equitable access to the cannabis industry and the city can achieve the full promise of legalization.”

A Denver Department of Excise and Licenses spokesperson told Marijuana Moment that 32 approved and 31 pending social equity qualified applicants are now part of the initiative, which they claimed is “one of the most successful social equity programs in U.S. history.” (Full Story)

In category:Business
Tags:
Next Post

Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group reviewing sale options

Cronos Group has received a number of expressions of interest about a possible sale and is reviewing those offers, the Toronto-based cannabis producer said. “Cronos is in the initial stages of reviewing these indications of interest, and there can be no assurance…
Read
Previous Post

Herbl collapse signals wider fallout in California marijuana industry

California-based marijuana distribution giant Herbl is going to the courts in a bid to recover some of the roughly $10 million it claims retailers owe the company, which fell into receivership in June. At the same time, according to court and investor…
Read
Random Post

Future’s Monster Kush First Evol Strain To Enter Nevada Market

Future’s cannabis brand Evol is now available in Nevada in partnership with cultivator Redwood Cultivation, a Sept. 22 announcement reads. After first being announced last April, then conquering California, Nevada marks the next strategic step in expanding Evol to the next state on the…
Read
Random Post

Why Do Most Americans Now Believe Smoking Cannabis is Safer Than Smoking Tobacco?

The link between lung cancer and tobacco cigarette smoking was discovered as early as 1953. It was no one else than the people who profited from the tobacco industry who were fully aware of its harms, but they were discreet about it. Through the…
Read
Random Post

14 Enchanting Things to Do in New Mexico

Discover why they call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment” with these activities that are geared more for smoker-friendly tourists seeking a magical adventure. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Mexico in 2021. Even though adult-use…
Read
Random Post

Teens Do Not Smoke More Weed Despite Almost 40 States Having Some Form of a Legal Marijuana Program Says US Government

A recent editorial on Cannabis.net titled  "The Kids Will All Be Getting High Turns Out to Be 100% Wrong" went viral as it pointed out that the long held Reefer Madness myth of kids getting stoned all day with the legalization of cannabis…
Read