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Legal Cannabis Sales Dip Sharply in Colorado

Sales of both medical and recreational cannabis in Colorado plummeted in June compared to the previous year, the state’s Department of Revenue reported, an alarming decline that industry officials attribute to a variety of reasons.

Medical marijuana sales totaled $19,235,656 in June—down from $34,534,293 in June 2021. Recreational pot sales, meanwhile, generated $127,157,358 in June—down from $152,719,813 in June 2021.

Some members of this industry have been particularly worried by the drop in cannabis sales.

Truman Bradley, executive director of the Colorado-based trade association the Marijuana Industry Group, said that the medical cannabis sales are “the lowest they’ve been since the legalization of recreational [cannabis]” in 2012, and that he’s “very concerned.”

Bradley stated to The Denver Channel local news that the decline in sales can be attributed to several factors.

“On the medical side, some very strict purchase limits came in, you know, for pharmaceuticals. One-month supplies can be obtained by patients. But for medical cannabis, their daily purchase limits for folks who are immunocompromised or disabled, this is a real problem,” Bradley told the station.

The station reports that experts are “worried about people with health conditions having access to the treatment they need,” saying that “patients are paying more in taxes for similar products at recreational facilities.”

Some believe the decrease in sales of medical marijuana is due to patients choosing the easier, more convenient recreational cannabis products over the lengthy application process for a prescription.

“We think it might be just people don’t want to go through the hassle of getting their medical marijuana card. They’d rather just walk down the street and go to a recreational dispensary,” said Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the city of Denver’s Department of Excise & Licenses and Office of Marijuana Policy, as quoted by the Denver Channel.

“I think what some people are really wondering is if there’s an oversaturation of the marijuana market in Denver. We have a lot of stores, whether it be medical or recreational,” Escudero added.

But Denver, Colorado’s largest city and the state capital, also “says it’s seen a decline in people applying for a medical marijuana license over the last five years,” according to the Denver Channel.

Arizona has seen a similar trend, with its medical marijuana sales also dropping.

Citing data from Arizona Department of Revenue AZ Mirror reported last month that “sales of medical cannabis dipped to slightly less than $45 million in May, their lowest total since January 2021, when adults were first allowed to purchase marijuana for recreational use.”

Arizona’s new recreational marijuana industry has made a significant difference.

According to AZ Mirror, “initial estimates from tax collectors peg recreational sales at $76.5 million [for the month of May], the fifth time adult-use sales surpassed the $70 million mark.”

“Medical cannabis sales dropped precipitously for the seventh month in a row to slightly less than $45 million in May, only the second time in the past year medical sales dropped below the $50 million mark,” the AZ Mirror reported. “Preliminary numbers for June indicate $33.7 million in medical sales with recreational sales already on pace to hit another record, with $66.4 million reported so far.”

It was legalized for recreational use in Grand Canyon State last year. However, medical marijuana sales increased more than those of recreational cannabis throughout 2021.