Yo, what’s good my fellow stoners? It’s your boy Dan, and I’m here to drop some knowledge on the current state of Colorado’s weed industry. Now, as you all know, Colorado was once the epicenter of the legal cannabis industry, but recent data shows that sales and employment within the industry have taken a major hit. So, let’s get into it.
In February, dispensaries in Colorado recorded $124.8 million in sales, which is a 3.5% decrease from January and a 14% decline from the previous year. This marks the seventh monthly drop in the past eight months, resulting in the lowest sales figure in the past four years. These stats are no joke, my friends. This is a significant setback for the state’s cannabis industry.
For the first two months of the year, combined sales of marijuana in Colorado amounted to $254.2 million, representing a 14% drop from the corresponding period in the previous year. Adult-use sales for February generated $109.4 million, while medical cannabis transactions contributed $15.4 million to the overall total. Comparatively, January saw higher sales figures than February.
The most recent data on Colorado’s cannabis market highlights the conclusion of a decade-long expansion in the country’s most established adult-use marijuana sector. Wholesale cannabis prices have declined for a significant portion of 2022. Total cannabis sales for 2022 in Colorado reached almost $1.8 billion, representing a significant 20.7% drop from the record high of $2.2 billion in 2021.
Now here’s where things really get rough. According to a recent report, the number of cannabis jobs in Colorado has dropped by 28 percent, coinciding with headlines claiming a decrease in marijuana sales in the state. This suggests that finding employment related to marijuana is becoming increasingly difficult in Colorado.
The research reveals that dispensary sales have been weak nationwide and that commercial marijuana employment has fallen nationally for the first time since this state’s adult-use cannabis industry opened for business in early 2014. And as additional states join the marijuana party, Colorado has been hammered particularly hard. It’s no longer one of the leading two states for cannabis employment, according to Vangst. It isn’t even among the top five.
Let’s break it down even further. Between February 2022 and February 2023, cannabis business owners in Colorado reduced their workforce by approximately 10,500 employees, leaving the state with 27,856 workers in the industry. By comparison, other states’ marijuana industry employment rates are:
Except for California, all the top five states saw increased marijuana industry employment from 2022 to 2023. These numbers don’t lie, my friends. Finding work in the weed industry ain’t as easy as it used to be.
Truman Bradley, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, expressed that he was not surprised by the decline in employment in the marijuana industry. He explained that the industry has been experiencing a downturn for 20 months with no signs of improvement. Sales have decreased by over 20% in the recreational industry and over 45% in the medical industry in 2023.
The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that the state’s sales for the first month amounted to $129.4 million, which is a 15% decrease from January 2022. This also represents a 30% decrease from January 2021. The reduction in marijuana sales has resulted in a decline in tax revenue for Colorado, with collections dropping from $423.5 million in 2021 to $325.1 million in 2022. In the first two months of 2023, Colorado has accrued about $47.1 million in marijuana taxes and fees, which is about 20 percent lower than the $58.9 million collected in the same period in 2022.
So, what’s the deal? Well, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, legal marijuana prices and sales figures reached record highs, but they began to decline in the latter half of 2021. Subsequently, the marijuana industry in Colorado entered into a full-blown recession in 2022, and the statistics continue to worsen. The data indicate that marijuana sales in Colorado peaked around the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic when dispensaries recorded their highest sales numbers.
It’s not just dispensaries and growers who are suffering; businesses that offer software support, accounting, and other ancillary assistance to the marijuana industry are also reducing staff due to financial difficulties. Additionally, tax revenue from commercial marijuana at both state and local levels has declined significantly since 2021.
But don’t lose hope just yet! Economic projections indicate that marijuana tax income will increase. Therefore, there is hope that the business will recover. Colorado will need to adapt as the industry changes and competition rises as additional states legalize marijuana if it wants to stay at the top of the market. The cannabis sector in Colorado’s future is still unclear, but it can prosper once more with careful planning and innovation.
In conclusion, while it’s a rough time for Colorado’s weed industry right now, we can’t forget that this is a dynamic market that can change on a dime. So let’s keep our heads up and our lungs filled with that good stuff, my friends. Peace out!