Business

Annual Marijuana Sales Set to Hit Three-Year Low in 2022

Colorado marijuana sales are in the middle of a sustained decline.
Colorado marijuana sales are in the middle of a sustained decline. Jacqueline Collins
Annual marijuana sales in Colorado will likely slide to a three-year low based on data just released by the state Department of Revenue.

After hitting $2 billion in 2020 and topping over $2.2 billion in 2021, Colorado dispensary sales will be lucky to break $1.8 billion in 2022. Through September, overall marijuana sales for the year were just under $1.36 billion, according to DOR data. If dispensaries continue to meet their latest six-month average of $149.7 million in sales per month, then the 2022 marijuana sales total would barely break $1.8 billion — and that's a big if, considering the lower-than-average numbers that dispensaries tend to experience in winter months.

Colorado's pot industry has been stricken with a year-plus recession as sales sink and more states legalize recreational marijuana. If this year's numbers continue to hold, dispensaries will experience a 20 percent reduction in sales compared to 2021, while the average price per pound of flower has dropped nearly 59 percent since last year, reaching a record low. Medical marijuana, a dwindling presence in Colorado, has hit record monthly lows in sales numerous times this year.

The decline in sales has led to layoffs in the marijuana industry and dispensary closures across Colorado, though this isn't he only state experiencing a downturn in pot revenue.

Tiffany Goldman, a co-owner of Denver-area dispensary chain the Health Center and board chair of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), says that business closures will continue given the current sales pace.

“Our industry is made up of hundreds of small business owners and tens of thousands of Coloradans trying to make a living. These sales declines aren’t just numbers on a sheet of paper; they represent the loss of people's livelihoods and their dreams of running their own business. With the current decline in sales, we are seeing multiple rounds of layoffs across our industry, representing thousands of lost jobs,” Goldman says in a statement.

MIG points out that the decline in dispensary sales will result in less tax revenue for the state as well, with 2022's tax total predicted to be down $97 million from 2021's record-breaking $423.5 million.

And Colorado's marijuana industry was dealt another blow earlier this month when voters in Colorado Springs, the state's second-largest city, rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the city's 100-plus medical dispensaries to offer recreational sales.


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Colorado Department of Revenue
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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

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