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More medical and retail marijuana was sold throughout Colorado in 2020 than ever before after several unexpected trends occurred, according to a new report released by the state's marijuana enforcement division.

The 2020 Regulated Marijuana Market Update, showed the COVID-19 pandemic had significant impacts on the industry, while the demand for the flower products increased which reversed a six year trend of a constant market share decline.

"This is the first to show the impacts of COVID-19 on Colorado's legal commercial marijuana industry using the state's METRC data," said MED Senior Director Dominique Mendiola in a news release. "Colorado saw the most marijuana sales ever in 2020, and it's vital to provide the public with this level of sophisticated analysis to understand the year-over-year trends of this industry."

Overall sales in Colorado surpassed $2 billion for the first time in the state's history as a total of $2.19 billion sales were reported in 2020. This was a 25.3% increase from 2019 and is about 3% higher than the year-over-year sale growth from 2015 to 2020, according to the report. 

Recreational marijuana sales were higher than ever before as $1.75 billion was sold across the state. Unexpectedly, medical marijuana sales rose for the first time sine 2016 as total sales increased by nearly 31% from 2019 to 2020.

Experts theorized the increase in medical sales could be attributed to recreational users switching markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as prices for medical marijuana is generally cheaper.

Similarly, flower products — the marijuana plant — for the first time ever increased its market share. Despite flower products holding the largest percentage of overall sales within the market, that share has steadily declined each year as concentrate and edible products have increased. 

Concentrate saw their market share fall from 32.4% to 30.1%, while edibles dropped a mere .4% in 2020.

Although its a minimal drop there were big changes in the short-term as concentrates and edibles accounted for 45.1% of the state's total sales in January, but dropped to 39.8% in May, according to the report. 

Experts believe this unforeseen change could be a result of increased availability of flower over its competitor and possible lingering effects of lung reported injuries associated to vapes that were reported in 2019.

But most likely is the fact that flower is a more economical option — despite being more expensive than 2019 —  than its competitors during a time when many people lost their jobs or thought their local dispensary could be closed the following morning.

Even though many people were without jobs and income the average recreational consumer spent an average of $55.93 compared to $100.49 for medical marijuana consumers. 

While many changes impacted the sales of marijuana in 2020, the report indicate the overall market continued to consolidate at a moderate pace as the total number of corporate entities declined nearly 7%.

However, the marijuana market continues to be more competitive than the tobacco, beer and pharmaceutical industries in the Centennial State, according to the report. 

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