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Marijuana sales drop in first month of 2022

By: - March 21, 2022 10:09 am

Photo by Paxson Woelber/The Alaska Landmine | Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The stream of money raining down from cannabis sales abated slightly in the first month of 2022, with recreational and medical sales dropping to a combined $115 million.

It was the lowest total sales revenue for the industry since February 2021 — the first full month of sales since Arizona voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in November 2020 — when Arizonans bought $94 million of cannabis. At the time, few dispensaries in the state had begun recreational sales.

Arizonans bought $63.8 million of recreational marijuana products in January, and another $51.3 million in medical cannabis. Sales for the month were about $5 million less than in December.

Arizona Dispensary Association director Sam Richard said record business in December may have more to do with the drop than sluggish sales.

“It’s not so much a dip as December was a spike,” he said. “It was a new and novel thing during the holidays.”

On the adult-use side, sales hit the $63 million mark in October 2021 and increased to $69.4 million by December.

Tax dollars continue to roll in, despite the month-to-month dip in sales, with nearly $21.5 million in revenue collected from an excise tax on recreational cannabis and sales taxes on both programs. Sales tax revenue for the month was slightly more than $10 million, while the excise tax on the recreational program totaled more than $11 million.

Of that total, about $4.5 million went into the state’s general fund; $725,134 to education; $979,172 to county revenue sharing; and $604,278 to cities.

City tax collections for the state included nearly $2.5 million statewide, while counties collected a total of $854,202.

The state collects a 16% excise tax on recreational sales in addition to the standard sales tax. Medical marijuana patients pay just the sales tax. Local jurisdictions charge an additional 2% or so for all marijuana sales.

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David Abbott
David Abbott

David Abbott is a freelance journalist living in Tucson. He originally came to Tucson while serving in the Air Force from 1978 to 1982, but left to seek his fortunes in California where his passion for journalism took hold. His editorial career has taken him from Northern California to rural Arizona as a writer, editor and newspaper production manager for several weekly newspapers, magazines and assorted publications. After accepting a position as editor of the Arizona Silver Belt in Globe in 2018, he returned to Tucson the following year to enjoy the mountains and write about cannabis and community news.