Medical Marijuana Sales Decline Continues In Colorado As Recreational Weed Disrupts Market

Medical marijuana sales continue to slide in Colorado. For the first half of 2018, revenue fell 21 percent year-over-year to $165.8 million. Recreational sales rose 14 percent to $573 million.

Total combined sales rose by 4 percent to reach $739 million, versus $710 million in the first half of 2017.

In June alone, medical marijuana sales dropped by 30 percent year-over-year to $25.3 million, while recreational cannabis sales advanced 14 percent to $99.4 million.

Rec Market 'Disruptive' To Medical Sales 

“Since April of 2017, we have observed negative year-over-year comps for medical marijuana sales,” GreenWave Advisors founder and managing partner Matt Karnes told Benzinga. “These results underscore our view that the overall Colorado marijuana market is at or near maturity and further substantiates our industry thesis that a rec market is disruptive to medical sales."

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The medical cardholder count has remained largely flat, Karnes said, with 86,755 patients at the end of June versus 87,168 in May. That's up slightly from 83,857 year-over-year.

Marijuana prices are falling, according to GreenWave Advisors. 

The average patient spend in June was $289, versus $425 for June 2017. Spend was also down sharply over the first half of the year, with the six months of 2018 boasting average sales of $306 monthly per client. This figure compares to $403 monthly per client during the first half of 2017.

A Diverging Path For Medical, Recreational Businesses 

The penetration of Colorado's total addressable medical marijuana market peaked at 33 percent with 117,000 cardholders in October 2014, the year the state enacted a legal recreational market, Karnes said. 

Average revenue per medical dispensary was down 26 percent year-over-year in June at $51,000, he said.  

Recreational businesses posted better results and saw sales rise 13 percent year-over-year to an average of $185,000 in June, according to the GreenWave Advisors founder. 

Picture by Javier Hasse.

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