DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s marijuana industry says it is seeing a “troubling trend” as retail sales decline for the second month in a row and medical cannabis sales dip to their lowest level on record.
The Colorado Department of Revenue keeps a monthly analysis of medical, recreational and total marijuana sales dating back to 2014, when recreational marijuana was legalized.
Total sales saw a 13% decrease in February 2022 compared to February 2021. That accounts for about $22 million in lost revenue.
“Having marijuana, as much as it is a need for health and well being, that’s one of the parts where people will spend less money because they’re having to spend more on gas, they’re having to spend more because of inflation,” PJ Rinker, vice president of The Joint dispensary in Denver said.
According to Rinker, The Joint, which sells recreational marijuana products, has seen a steady decline in sales for about two years. He attributes part of that to the fact that more states have legalized marijuana recently.
“We don’t have the tourist market that we had before,” he said. “Colorado was a destination place, so people travelled from all over the country to come and experience Colorado and to have a dispensary.”
While total sales have been on a decline from record sales around the middle of 2020, the state’s data also shows that February 2022 still represents the second-highest amount of marijuana sales for the month of February since 2014. Only February 2021 saw more sales.
On the flip side, medical marijuana sales are at their lowest levels of the available state data. From January 2021 to January 2022, sales of medical cannabis products in Colorado declined 40%.
“A new law that went into effect at the beginning of the year is impacting the medical market making it much harder for patients to access life-saving medicine,” the Marijuana Industry Group said in a press release in response to the drop in sales.
The group is likely referencing a Colorado law that went into effect in January 2022 limiting medical card holders over the age of 21 to purchasing 8 grams of concentrated products per day. For medical card holders under 21, the new law sets a daily limit of 2 grams of concentrated products.
“While this new law may have been well-intentioned in keeping cannabis out of the hands of young people, it has had devastating consequences for patients, medical clinics and doctors who offer critical treatment for Coloradans with difficult-to-treat conditions,” the Marijuana Industry Group said.
FOX31 reached out to the state lawmakers who sponsored the piece of legislation, but we did not receive a response by press time.