DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado joins other marijuana-legal states in a post-COVID pattern of leveling sales.
State marijuana revenue has shrunk, but only to pre-COVID levels, after swelling to record levels last year. The City of Denver’s 2021 annual report on the marijuana industry details a record year for Colorado’s marijuana industry. Statewide, consumers bought $2.2 billion worth of medical and recreational cannabis, the bulk of which was recreational.
Marijuana sales have increased every year since Colorado allowed legal recreational pot to be sold starting in 2014. The COVID pandemic produced a large uptick in sales, similar to alcohol. Total sales shot up 25% in 2020 and peaked in 2021.
Sales have dipped in 2022, according to tax records from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Through July 1, Colorado’s marijuana state tax revenue has slowed to levels unseen since March 2020. The state collected only $27.7 million worth of marijuana taxes and fees in June.
Still, state tax revenue is higher now than at any point before the pandemic. Tax intake has only slowed relative to the records set during the last two years.
Industry representatives have spoken of a slowdown in sales they say will compromise the public projects marijuana taxes support, including schools and social services. Prices are part of the issue. Colorado records say the current price per pound of marijuana bud is lower now than it has ever been.
Nationally, other states with legal recreational sales are seeing similar trends.
Both California’s and Washington’s marijuana taxes rose to heights in 2020 and 2021 before dipping in the first quarter of the new year.
California collected no less than $110 million in each quarter beginning mid-2020 through last winter. This year, taxes fell to $104.5 million in the first quarter. Washington’s quarterly marijuana tax intake followed the same trend.