Medical marijuana sales in Colorado hit lowest level since legalization

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Medical marijuana sales in Colorado hit lowest level since legalization
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Colorado’s medical marijuana sales are at their darkest point, leaving the state’s cannabis industry “on the brink,” according to industry officials.

In July, the state’s recreational and medical marijuana sales reached nearly $154 million, according to figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue. This calendar year, total sales have reached over $1 billion so far.

However, July medical marijuana sales only reached just over $18 million – the lowest monthly figure on record since January 2014, when retail sales were legalized in the state.

“There is a dangerous perception that Colorado’s cannabis industry is a cash cow,” said Tiffany Goldman, chair of the Marijuana Industry Group board of directors. “This perception is wrong.”

Recreational marijuana sales fared better at over $135 million, a jump from April, May and June figures. Still, that’s significantly less than last July, at nearly $168 million.

The industry 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 closed permanently in June, owner John Fritzel blaming “a tax balance”, a market downturn and high costs.

“Going forward, we hope lawmakers and elected leaders understand the sad reality that Colorado’s cannabis businesses are struggling and that we must work to protect an industry that provides well-paying jobs and tax revenue to our condition,” Goldman said in a statement.

However, other chains are growing, such as LivWell Enlightened Health. It is poised to dominate the Colorado market with 26 dispensaries after PharmaCann recently announced plans to acquire boutique dispensary chain The Clinic.

Ryan Shipp, retail manager at independent Native Roots Cannabis Co., disagrees that the state’s cannabis industry is globally on the brink, calling the medical and the recreational of “two completely different markets”.

Although both are down, it’s for a variety of reasons, he said. On the recreational side, more and more states are legalizing, so cannabis-related tourism is down.

On the medical front, “we expected a decline” in sales, he said, pointing to Bill 1317 as a contributing factor. The measure imposed more requirements on medical marijuana patients and limited the amount of concentrate a patient can purchase in a day to eight grams. For 18 to 20 year olds, the limit is increased to two grams.

“I don’t know if we expected such a big drop,” Shipp added in a phone interview. “It’s a little more complicated to get a medical card now than it used to be, so some of them are just choosing not to have to go through that process and just shop on the leisure side.”

He notes that Native Roots has seen a steady increase in the number of medical patients over the past two months, however, and describes himself as hoping the drop in sales has “stabilized”. The company is committed to developing its medical side, Shipp added.

Still, he doesn’t expect the medical market to rebound to its peak.

However, all hope is not lost for Colorado’s cannabis industry, which breathed a sigh of relief last week when a ballot measure to raise cannabis taxes in the Mile High City was withdrawn. .

On a larger scale, cannabis sales in the United States and around the world are on track to grow in the future, according to continued market forecasts from cannabis data firm BDSA.

denverpost

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