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Colorado Cannabis Sales Lowest in Three Years

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

October 13, 2022

Portrait of woman with red hair blowing smoke in a dark room

Photo by Abdiel Ibarra on Unsplash

Colorado Cannabis sales have hit a three-year low in August, down slightly from July and dropping more than 20 percent compared to the same month a year earlier. Regulated dispensaries in the state sold about $150.4 million worth of cannabis products in August, according to

, a figure 22 percent less than the $192.9 million in sales rung up in August 2021.

The drop in total sales comes as the regulated cannabis market matures in

, 10 years after voters passed a landmark ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. The market has seen wholesale prices fall recently, while medical marijuana sales in July were at their lowest level since legal adult-use cannabis sales began in 2014.

The $150.4 million in cannabis sales in August includes just under $19 million in medical marijuana sales, with adult-use cannabis sales for the month totaling more than $131.5 million. Through August, cannabis sales in Colorado reached just over $1.2 billion for the year. At the current pace of sales, the yearly total for marijuana sales in the state is likely to be about 20 percent less than 2021, when approximately $2.4 billion worth of weed was sold in Colorado.

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Post-COVID Colorado Cannabis Sales Drop

The drop in Colorado marijuana sales is reflective of the situation nationwide following the easing of restrictions put in place because of the

pandemic, when consumers were eager to return to family gatherings, restaurant dining and other public activities.

During the shutdowns, cannabis sales in legal markets skyrocketed, with most states reporting record-breaking sales. In March, however, cannabis market data analytics firm BDSA reported that sales appeared to be returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“Though most legal cannabis markets saw sales soften in the second half of 2021, the global cannabis market is expected to see brisk growth in 2022, driven by strong sales in new and emerging markets in the U.S., steady growth in Canada and international markets led by Mexico and Germany,” BDSA chief commercial officer Jessica Lukas

quoted by Newsweek.

In Colorado, however, August marijuana sales were still below 2019’s pre-COVID levels, when sales totaled $173.2 million, nearly $23 million more than this year. 

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Wholesale Prices Down, Medical Marijuana Sales Lagging

Colorado’s drop in marijuana sales is in part fueled by a drop in wholesale prices and lagging medical marijuana sales, which have fallen since retail sales of recreational cannabis began in 2014. According to Department of Revenue data, the wholesale price of a pound of cannabis flower fell nearly 59 percent from January 2021 through the end of June 2022, although

that some growers have seen an even steeper decline.

In July, sales of medical marijuana came to $18.3 million, the lowest total since sales of recreational cannabis began in 2014. Although the figure increased by about $600,000 the following month, the industry is down sharply since full legalization.

“There is a dangerous perception that Colorado’s cannabis industry is a cash cow,” said Tiffany Goldman, board chair of the Marijuana Industry Group. “This perception is false.”

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10-Year Anniversary of Proposition 64

The soft pace of marijuana sales comes 10 years after voters decided to legalize recreational cannabis with the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2012. At a celebration this week in Denver, the cannabis community and policymakers including Gov. Jared Polis gathered to mark the 10-year anniversary of the ballot measure’s passage.

“It’s a milestone for Colorado, the country, the world,”

at Tuesday’s event in a statement quoted by Marijuana Moment. “Colorado’s positive experience shows that not only did people’s worst concerns never materialize, but charted a new way forward in a positive way for reducing underage use, driving drug dealers out of business, making our communities safer, empowering people to have the freedom to make the choices they want to make, to treat themselves for medical conditions.”

A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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