DENVER, March 11 (UPI) -- Healthy sales of marijuana have merchants scrambling to find warehouse space to grow it in Denver, a review of the city's industrial vacancy rate indicates.
Brokerage firm Colliers International indicated Denver's industrial vacancy rate of 3.1 percent is the lowest in decades, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.
Not all Colorado municipalities allow marijuana cultivation.
Since recreational marijuana sales began Jan. 1, commercial real estate tracker Xceligent Inc. estimated marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities in Denver occupy about 4.5 million square feet, roughly 78 football fields, the Post said.
"This industry has come on so fast that initially I was uneasy -- it seemed like a fad," said Brad Calbert, president of the Colliers International in Denver. "But what's making it sustainable is supply, demand and capital. Supply is deficient, demand is excessive, and capital is abundant."
Industrial brokers reported instances of warehouse space leasing for as much as four times the rents paid before medical marijuana sales in 2009.
Some recreational marijuana stores said they had to scale back sales because supply couldn't keep up with demand, the Post said.
State Department of Revenue officials said marijuana brought in $3.5 million in taxes and fees in January, KUSA-TV, Denver, reported.
Of that, $2.1 million was from recreational marijuana and $1.4 million from medical marijuana.
The Department of Revenue said about $14 million worth of recreational marijuana was sold in the first month of legal sales. Medical marijuana had $31 million in sales.