Business

Marijuana Sales Hit Three-Year Low

Marijuana sales and prices are down across the board in 2022.
Marijuana sales and prices are down across the board in 2022. Jacqueline Collins
Colorado marijuana sales hit a three-year low in August, according to the state Department of Revenue, falling 22 percent on a year-over-year basis and slightly decreasing from the month before.

Facing record lows in both wholesale prices and medical marijuana, Colorado dispensaries still managed to sell over $150.4 million in August, DOR data shows, but that's far from the $192.9 million sold in August 2021, and significantly less than the $218.6 million sold in August 2020.

This year's total marijuana sales through August — just over $1.2 billion — indicates that Colorado dispensaries could come up around 20 percent short of the near-$2.3 billion sold in 2021. Marijuana business owners have cited a surplus of wholesale marijuana after an outlying spike in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason behind the decline, and they're backed by several economic reports and business owners.

Meanwhile, Colorado dispensaries are still below pre-COVID sales in 2019. According to DOR data, August's $150.4 million was still less than the $173.2 million sold in the same month three years ago.

The average wholesale price per pound of marijuana flower dropped nearly 59 percent from January 2021 through the end of June 2022, according to the DOR data, but growers and dispensary owners say the fall has been sharper than those numbers suggest. The decline in sales totals has led to numerous layoffs and dispensary closures across Colorado.

An increasing number of Colorado marijuana growers have proposed that the state stop issuing new cultivation licenses and pause the 15 percent excise tax growers must pay. Arguing that it would stop the bleeding in wholesale pot, a business coalition pushed the state Marijuana Enforcement Division to institute a moratorium in its latest round of rulemaking. The MED balked at the idea, however, arguing that it didn't have the authority to enact a license moratorium.

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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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