Colorado’s medical marijuana sales fell to their lowest point since retail sales began, the latest sign that the state’s once-robust industry faces headwinds as others encroach on the US market and new regulations are put in place.
In July, sales of marijuana in the state, both for recreational and medical purposes, did not reach $154 million, according to Figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue, down from nearly $203 million a year earlier. Sales for the calendar year have passed the $1 billion mark.
July medical marijuana sales reached just over $18 million, the lowest monthly figure since January 2014, when retail sales were legalized in the state. Recreational marijuana sales fared better at more than $135 million, down from $168 million a year earlier but higher than figures for April, May and June.
“There is a dangerous perception that the Colorado cannabis industry is a source of revenue,” said Tiffany Goldman, chairwoman of the board of the Marijuana Industry Group. “This perception is false.”
His trade association described the state’s marijuana industry as “on the brink.”
The industry still directly employs more than 41,000 people in the Centennial State, but Goldman pointed to the closure of small cannabis businesses. Buddy Boy Brands’ Seven Metro Area Dispensaries they closed their doors permanently in June, with owner John Fritzel blaming a tax debt to the state, a market downturn and high costs.
“Moving forward, we hope legislators and elected leaders understand the sad reality that Colorado cannabis businesses are struggling and that we must work to protect an industry that provides good-paying jobs and tax revenue for our state,” Goldman said. it’s a statement.
Ryan Shipp, director of retail for independently owned Native Roots Cannabis Co., disagrees that the state’s cannabis industry is on the brink of collapse overall, calling the medical and recreational “two completely different markets.” different”.
While both are trending down, it’s for a variety of reasons, he said. On the recreational side, more states are legalizing, so cannabis tourism is declining.
On the medical side, “we expected a decline” in sales, he said, noting House Bill 1317 as a contributing factor. The measure placed more requirements on medical marijuana patients and reduced the amount of concentrate a patient can buy in a day to eight grams. For young people aged 18 to 20, the limit became two grams.
“I don’t know if we were expecting such a large decline,” Shipp added. “It’s a little more complicated to get a medical card now than it used to be, so some of them just opt out of having to go through that process and just shop on the rec side.”
However, he notes that Native Roots has seen steady increases in medical patients over the past two months, describing himself as hopeful that the sales slump has “leveled off.” The company is committed to growing its medical side, Shipp added, but doesn’t expect the medical market to recover to its peak.
On a broader scale, cannabis sales both in the US and globally are on track to grow in the future, according to a rolling market forecast from cannabis data company BDSA.
In 2026, worldwide annual cannabis sales are estimated to rise to $57 billion from $30 billion last year, with the US market rising to $42 billion from $25 billion in 2021.
By the end of this year, legal cannabis sales in the country are expected to reach $27 billion, a 7% increase over last year’s sales, according to data released Tuesday.
BDSA notes that “the most dramatic sales declines” will likely be seen in mature adult-use markets, such as Colorado, with newer markets stimulating sales. He points to the declining trend in medical marijuana sales as “patients have access to an ever-increasing variety and lower prices in neighboring adult-use markets.”
“The ‘hockey stick’ trend of sales growth seen in the early years of legal cannabis has passed, and economic and regulatory headwinds are putting pressure on legal cannabis markets,” said Roy Bingham, CEO of BDSA. “Although mature legal cannabis markets in the US saw declining sales in 2022, the cannabis market is still forecast to see top-line growth in 2022, driven by strong sales in new and emerging markets, like the populous states of New Jersey and New York. ”