Business

Recreational Marijuana Sales Drop Over 12 Percent in April

Budtenders at Green Dragon dispensary embrace social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Budtenders at Green Dragon dispensary embrace social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivey Altenhof
Colorado marijuana dispensaries saw a noticeable drop in sales in April despite the 4/20 holiday, according to the state Department of Revenue.

April's total of $148.5 million in marijuana sales represents a 7.8 percent drop from March's tally of more than $161 million. While dispensaries usually don't break monthly sales records in April (for six of the last seven years, April figures have fallen short of March's), this was still an unusually large decrease. Also unusual: Medical marijuana sales, stuck below the $30 million range every month for over two years, actually increased 10.8 percent in April over March. The MMJ tally was over $36.48 million, while recreational sales dropped over 12.5 percent, to $112 million.

Dispensaries usually start seeing more action in May, with pot sales traditionally enjoying a seasonal jump through August — but this summer has the unique factor of COVID-19, which could change demand and purchasing habits. The drop in tourism and travel will also affect sales in unknown ways.

Dispensary owners reported peaks and valleys of business traffic through March and April, during the height of Colorado's stay-at-home orders, with quarantine fears, 4/20 and federal stimulus payments all contributing to bulk purchasing and discounted products.

According to the state fiscal budget projections, marijuana sales aren't likely to see the record high of 2019 this year, and could continue to struggle into 2021.
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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