Business

4/20 Didn't Stop Marijuana Sales Plunge

Customers begin to line up outside of A Cut Above dispensary on the morning of Wednesday, April 20.
Customers begin to line up outside of A Cut Above dispensary on the morning of Wednesday, April 20. Thomas Mitchell
Colorado marijuana sales fell on both a monthly and yearly basis in April despite the 4/20 holiday, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Dispensaries tallied just over $153 million in sales in April, DOR data shows. That's almost 6 percent less than the $162.5 million collected the month before and nearly 26 percent less than the $206.3 million made in April 2021.

Business owners had been hopeful that the weekend and days leading up to the unofficial marijuana holiday on April 20 would spark an increase in 2022 marijuana sales. According to dispensary sales tracker Headset, Colorado marijuana sales earnings experienced a 102 percent bump on April 20 compared to previous Wednesdays, but still had "a lower than average response to the 4/20 holiday" in comparison to other states. And Jane, another dispensary sales tracker and menu service, reported a 20 percent decrease in earnings on 4/20 this year compared to 2021.

Colorado dispensaries broke marijuana sales records in 2021, bringing in over $2.2 billion. Sales volume and wholesale marijuana prices began falling last summer, however. April 2022 was the eleventh straight month of falling dispensary sales on a year-over-year basis, while the price of wholesale marijuana flower fell over 46 percent on average from January 2021 to April of this year, according to the state Marijuana Enforcement Division. 

Through the first four months of 2022, dispensaries have collected just under $612 million, DOR data shows. At the same point in 2021, dispensaries had brought in over $768 million.

Dispensary sales traditionally pick up during the summer, but state economic reports and marijuana industry representatives have been bracing for slower growth and potential retraction, suggesting that Colorado pot consumption peaked around the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colorado now has more competition for out-of-state buyers, too. New Mexico's recreational marijuana dispensaries opened for business on April 1, potentially ending a pipeline of dispensary shoppers not only from New Mexico, but Oklahoma and Texas, as well.

Dispensaries are starting to feel the pressure, with two reported closures — Bonfire Cannabis and Mile High Green Cross — and a handful of takeovers occurring in Denver over the past six weeks. 
click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell