By Lloyd Covens, Editor, West420 NewsWeekly
The late winter proved to be a busy cannabis buying time for Colorado as the month of March saw a record $74.6 million total sales mark, with 57% (or $42.7 million) spent on recreational purchases. Sales rose 9.2% over February($39.1 million) with an estimated $9.98 million in taxes and fees, of which about $2.6 million was earmarked for Colorado school construction. The quarter saw sales of $207.6 million, meaning with the traditionally busier summer months, the possibility for Colorado to surpass $1 billion for 2015 in RMJ/MMJ sales looks reachable. Last year, the combined sales came in at $699.2 million, with MMJ making up about 57% of the total. Many industry observers expect mid-summer pricing to drop 20 to 30% off current levels given the glut of Colorado grown MJ raw product expected. One puzzler remains form the latest MED report—- why have MMJ sales fallen by millions since last fall, 2014?
And in Washington state… Even as state legislators work to lower the 25/25/25 tax structure on Washington’s legal recreational stores, the month of April set an all-time sales record coming in at $35.2 million. This amount generated $8.8 million in excise tax for the state. For the first quarter of 2015, total sales for RMJ were $71.3 million, generating excise taxes of $17.8 million. No MMJ sales are tracked yet.
A separate marketing report drew on gross sales since the beginning of Washington’s July, 2014 sales estimating Seattles’ top 5 retailers were: 1) Uncle Ikes; 2) Cannabis City; 3) Ocean Greens; 4) Grass and 5) Ganja Goddess. In Vancouver, retail leader New Vansterdam has opened a medical MJ outlet in Portland, and says it is planning on expanding that location to retail when Oregon begins RMJ sales in 2016.
Oregon MJ policy makers appear deadlocked for now. More than 10 measures in a committee at the Oregon state house aimed at setting rules for RMJ in the state are on hold as competing interests within the state continue to disagree on how to set up new retailers versus expanding access by the current 155 MMJ licensed dispensaries.