Business

Colorado Marijuana Sales Hit a Ten-Month Skid

This year's marijuana sales have come up short in comparison to 2021.
This year's marijuana sales have come up short in comparison to 2021. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado marijuana sales continued falling in March, according to the state Department of Revenue, continuing a lengthy skid.

While March's $162.5 million in dispensary sales represented a slight bump from $145.3 million in sales in February, that total was about 22 percent less than the $207.1 million collected during March of 2021. March 2022 also marked the tenth month in a row that dispensary sales have fallen on a year-to-year basis, DOR data shows.

Both medical and recreational marijuana sales saw an increase in March over February, but those increases were relatively modest, with medical sales jumping 12 percent, to $22.9 million, and recreational sales increasing 11 percent, to just over $139.6 million. Even so, March's numbers were the third-lowest monthly total for medical marijuana sales since the DOR began tracking them in 2014.

Historical DOR data shows that dispensary sales traditionally dip in the early months and pick up during the summer, but that still might not be enough to reach 2020 and 2021's sales figures. Marijuana business owners and state economic forecasts suggest that marijuana purchasing in Colorado likely peaked around the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, when dispensaries recorded record sales numbers.

The price of marijuana has also dropped during the same span. According to the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, the price of wholesale marijuana pounds fell over 46 percent on average from January 2021 to April of this year, with dispensaries reporting significantly lower price tags, too.

Over the past year, Colorado has gotten more competition from other states. Oklahoma's medical marijuana sales surpassed $830 million in 2021, Arizona's recreational pot market is now in full swing, and recreational dispensaries in New Mexico opened for business on April 1, potentially ending a pipeline of dispensary shoppers from not only New Mexico, but Oklahoma and Texas, as well.

Colorado dispensary owners expect to see their sales numbers increase when the DOR releases transaction data from April, the month in which the 4/20 holiday takes place. They might be in for some disappointment, however, as at least two dispensary sales trackers reported that Colorado pot shops saw a lower turnout this April 20 than the year before, with Headset analytics noting that Colorado had "a lower than average response to the 4/20 holiday" in comparison to other states.
click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
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