Report: Colorado marijuana industry is already bigger than craft beer

Colorado’s marijuana industry generated a whopping $2.39 billion in 2015, according to the Marijuana Policy Group.

staff photo
Pure Love CBD strain of cannabis at Simply Pure. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)   marijuana; weed

Pure Love CBD strain of cannabis at Simply Pure. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Colorado’s marijuana industry generated a whopping $2.39 billion last year, according to a new report from the research collaborative The Marijuana Policy Group.

If the numbers are right, Colorado’s still budding cannabis industry is already worth more than the much-celebrated craft beer industry, the report officially released Wednesday shows.

Last year, Colorado’s small and independent beer makers generated $1.7 billion, according to a report released earlier this year by the Colorado Brewers Guild.

Marijuana tax revenues were three times larger than alcohol, and 14 percent larger than casino revenues in 2015, according to the new report.

Cannabis companies also boasted larger employment with 12,591 direct jobs in the industry in 2015 compared to 7,776 people working in craft beer.

Last year, cannabis sales totaled $996 million. By 2020, the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Group anticipates sales peaking around $1.52 billion with demand growing by 11.3 percent each year.

Those numbers could replace Colorado’s branding as the Napa Valley of Beer with a new nickname.

“As a first-mover in legal marijuana, the Front Range has witnessed significant business formation and industry agglomeration in marijuana technology (cultivation, sales, manufacturing, and testing). This has inspired a moniker for Colorado’s Front Range as the ‘Silicon Valley of Cannabis,'” the report says.

For the record, the Colorado Brewers Guild study looked only at the impact of craft brewers and brewpubs. Another study, by the national Brewers Association had a broader scope and put the economic impact of Colorado’s craft beer industry at $2.7 billion in 2014.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here. Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.