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Glenwood pot sales expected to top $5.8 million in 2015

Joseph Esquibel, right, makes the first official recreational marijuana sale in Glenwood Springs in May 2014 at Greenwerkz. Clayton Maxfield of Colorado Springs made the purchase.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

For the first time, Glenwood Springs has numbers quantifying how much money the sale of retail marijuana brought into the city’s coffers last year, and how much it’s expected to generate this year.

According to a recent report prepared by city Finance Director Charles Kelty, in just eight months after the city’s first retail pot shop opened in May 2014, a total of $2,964,179 worth of recreational marijuana was sold in the city.

That brought in $109,377 in sales taxes, according to the report. The largest single month for marijuana sales was August, when $525,557 worth of sales netted $19,446 in sales taxes.

Glenwood Springs assesses only its regular 3.7 percent sales tax rate on marijuana and does not have a separate tax on pot sales, as do some neighboring municipalities, including Carbondale.

Kelty said the report was prepared in advance of the upcoming City Council discussions about possible revisions to the city’s marijuana licensing and land-use codes. That discussion is to begin at a July 2 council work session.

Three retail outlets were approved in Glenwood Springs over the course of 2014, with the last one opening for business in late summer.

Based on the 2014 numbers, and just factoring the three existing shops and no additional new retail licenses, Kelty said the first full year of retail marijuana sales this year can be expected to top $5.8 million. That would result in sales taxes for the city totaling $214,724.

“These projections are based on just a few months of data, so things could change,” Kelty said. “We still are lacking a lot of concrete data to make these projections.”

Once a full year of sales are reported, he said it will be easier to compile multi-year projections.

The new report is cited in one of two retail marijuana license appeals that will also be before City Council on July 2.

The Green Dragon, which has an existing retail store and marijuana cultivation facility on Devereux Road, has proposed a second retail store and edibles manufacturing kitchen at 919 Grand Ave.

It was recently denied a license by the city’s licensing authority hearing officer, as was the proposed new Recreational Releaf Dispensary Bar at 404 10th St.

If the marijuana sales numbers hold up as projected this year, it would put marijuana not too far behind liquor stores in Glenwood Springs in terms of the economic impact.

According to a similar projection prepared by Kelty, liquor stores (not including 3.2 sales) are expected to generate $9.1 million in sales this year, which would result in $338,291 in sales taxes for the city.

For 2014, $8.3 million worth of retail liquor sales generated $307,707 in sales taxes.

SALES UP ANOTHER MONTH

Meanwhile, retail sales in Glenwood Springs in general are up again, according to the city’s April sales tax report that was released last week.

Double-digit percentage sales increases for building materials and supplies, auto parts, eating out and staying overnight in Glenwood Springs continued to help drive a nearly 10 percent increase in retail activity for the city through April.

The fourth month of the year alone saw a more than 8.5 percent increase in retail sales compared with the same month last year, as reflected in the April sales tax report that was released by the city last week.

Through the most recent month for which retail sales numbers are available, the city had collected a little more than $4.7 million in sales taxes on about $128 million in total retail sales within Glenwood city limits.

So far this year, the city has seen a 4 percent increase in sales of general merchandise, which is the largest retail category for Glenwood, and including national chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Sales of building materials and supplies are running 16.4 percent ahead of last year through four months, while automotive sales, service and parts are up 14.3 percent, restaurants and bars are up nearly 14 percent, and stays in hotels and motels are bringing in 14.2 percent more than last year.

The city’s special accommodations tax is up about 15 percent through four months of the year, according to the report.


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