Colorado retail marijuana industry continues to grow with increasing sales

Carson Lipe

Colorado is celebrating its fifth year of marijuana legalization. ( Olive Ancell | Collegian)

After five years of legalization, cannabis science and industry continues to grow, with Colorado marijuana sales earning over $1.5 billion for the calendar year of 2017 and earning nearly $4.5 billion since 2014, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

“The science of cannabis is moving forward at lightning speed, and we’re really seeing developments coming from research that is moving the industry forward,” said Max Poling, the marketing manager of the Fort Collins Infinite Wellness Center.

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Infinite Wellness Center is one of a handful of retail and medical cannabis dispensaries owned and operated in Fort Collins.

Even with federal backlash looming over the retail cannabis industry, new implementations including new forms of ingestion, and even things such as online ordering, continue to grow.

“This is an exciting time in the development of retail cannabis, as new products and ideas are hitting the market left and right,” said Dan Scott, the general manager of Vert’s Dispensary, located in the Campus West area. “Many of these products are things that I dreamt of when I was in my late teens and early twenties. We are seeing disposable vaporizer pens for hash oil, some of which have been tested at both sea level and 14,000 feet elevation, in 90-degree weather as well as below-freezing temperatures.”

Scott said the reason these types of features are relevant are because they ensure a quality product that is versatile to different lifestyles and smoking preferences.

Scott also touted products that mix THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, with CBD, the non-psychoactive counterpart to THC that has medicinal properties.

“There has also been an eruption of synergistic products that combine THC with CBD and other cannabinoids to create an entourage effect, where the combination of these natural chemical compounds is greater than when used individually,” Scott said.

The products described are good for individuals who want to experience some of the effects of cannabis, without feeling overwhelmed, Scott said.

“(The CBD products) help people find the right balance for their own body, as cannabis reacts differently with each individual,” Scott said. “Many consumers are in search of pain relief or relaxation, but do not want too much psychoactivity. Having a wide range of THC-to-CBD ratios allows individuals to dial in what works best for them.”

Scott attested to the effectiveness of CBD in a medicinal setting.

“One family member replaced her Xanax prescription with CBD edibles,” Scott said. “Another was able to rid himself of daily pain from nerve damage (and a daily-dose of NSAID’s to treat it) by using a strong topical salve and CBD gummies.”

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With the proliferation of products offered to broaden a user’s experience, there are also new ways of purchasing cannabis.

“Back in August, we launched our online ordering and loyalty system that has really upped our customer experience,” Poling said. “Online ordering allows our customers to be able to peruse our entire store inventory, research products, and place an order for same day, in store pickup, without waiting in line.”

Poling said customers can reach out to their store via Facebook messenger directly from the menu page. 

“Paired with our text message loyalty program, our customers now never miss out on a sale, new strains or whenever their favorite products are back in stock,” Poling said. 

With all of they hype surrounding cannabis, be it positive or negative, Scott said he is still ecstatic to be in the cannabis industry.

“I am blessed to be in this industry, as I have never before been a part of something that feels like one big family,” Scott said. “Instead of aggressive competition, this industry has a vibration that we are all on the same team.”

Collegian reporter Carson Lipe can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CarsonLipe