Colorado cannabis product mix changes as sales decline and prices drop

Matt Whittaker

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THC-infused brownies for sale in Colorado in 2018.THC Photos / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Across Colorado) The mix of cannabis product sales is changing as overall sales in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry slow, and prices for marijuana products decline.

Last year, as the state’s total cannabis sales barely rose above their 2020 level, edible and concentrated cannabis products gained market share compared to flowers, according to Colorado Department of Revenue numbers released this month.

For the adult-use retail market:

  • Flowers’ share of annual sales dropped to 45.7 percent in 2021 from 49.8 percent the year before
  • Concentrates’ share increased to 33.2 percent from 30.1 percent
  • Edibles’ share rose to 13.8 percent from 12.8 percent.

For the medical market:

  • Flowers’ share dropped to 57.1 percent from 58.9 percent
  • Concentrates’ share rose to 30.3 percent from 30 percent
  • Edibles’ share rose to 9.8 percent from 8.5 percent.

Those trends appear to be continuing into this year.

“Concentrates and edibles are enjoying somewhat of a lift in demand as the market expands to new groups of users,” said Jay Czarkowski, co-founder of Boulder-headquartered consultancy Canna Advisors. “More people learn about and want to try different ways of consuming cannabis.”

The increasing market share for concentrates and edibles comes amid a wider variety of offerings as markets and products mature for adult retail marijuana use, said Truman Bradley, executive director of the Wheat Ridge-based Marijuana Industry Group.

Meanwhile, medical customers are gravitating toward more concentrated forms of marijuana products.

“The trend toward concentrates and edibles can be attributed to a variety of factors, but we know that people who use marijuana as medicine are increasingly relying on purer products to treat their conditions,” Bradley said.

But the increasing market share for concentrates and edibles comes as overall cannabis sales growth in the state slowed last year. This year, sales are on pace for their first decline since state-sanctioned retail sales began in 2014 as legislation limits purchases, inflation limits spending and the illegal market offers competition.

To try to make up sales volumes, marijuana retailers in the state tried to attract business with lower prices.

“As businesses struggle, they are doing anything they can to keep sales up,” Bradley said.

Prices for medical marijuana flower fell 24 percent year-over-year to end 2021 at $2.55 a gram, their lowest historical level. The average retail price for adult-use flower dipped 14 percent to finish the year at their lowest level since mid-2019.

Adult use concentrate prices fell 4.5 percent from 2020 levels, and medical concentrate prices fell 18.1%, with both finishing 2021 as record lows.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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