Colorado pot sales, tax revenue continue steep slide in October

Matt Whittaker
A legal marijuana grow in Colorado.Photo byBrett Levin via Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver County) Colorado marijuana businesses sold nearly 20% less weed in October than they did a year ago as the state’s steep cannabis sales slump continues.

State data released this week show total marijuana sales of $142 million in October, down from $176 million in the same month a year ago. Money the state earned in marijuana taxes and fees fell to $26 million from $33 million, earlier data show.

Colorado’s pot sales woes come as legislation limits medical purchases, inflation eats into personal spending, the illegal market offers competition, and more states legalize pot, reducing marijuana tourism to the Centennial State.

In 2023, mature markets in the West, such as Colorado’s, will continue to struggle with price pressure and regulatory issues, forecasts Louisville-based cannabis data company BDSA.

With October’s sales decline, the state is on track to bring in $100 million less in tax revenue this year, according to the Wheat Ridge-based Marijuana Industry Group.

“Unfortunately, we have been hearing from our members that they are facing layoffs if this troubling trend continues, putting thousands of good paying jobs at risk,” the group’s board chair Tiffany Goldman said. 

“Not only that, but with this projected $100 million decrease in tax revenue, we will see real impacts on projects and initiatives that are funded by cannabis revenue, from housing to mental health to education,” she said.

Several enforcement division rules went into effect this month that will make compliance easier for Colorado marijuana businesses facing sales declines and layoffs.

Rule changes that went into effect Dec. 1 included eased regulations on social equity designations, record keeping and testing for a specific type of mold.

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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.

Lakewood, CO

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