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Medical marijuana sales continue to decline while recreational sales bounce back

By: - April 14, 2022 10:03 am

Photo by 2H Media | Unsplash

Medical cannabis sales dropped by about $4 million from January to February this year, while adult-use recreational gained a little more than $1 million, as sales statewide continue to lag behind a robust end-of-year surge in recreational sales in 2021.

Overall, sales for both programs totaled $121.2 million for the month of February.

While medical marijuana continues its multi-month decline since last October, recreational sales continue to hover just shy of the record $70 million attained in December 2021.

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Recreational sales weighed in at $68.7 million in February, a slight increase from the $67.6 million sold in January. Meanwhile, medical sales continued to fall, with a $52.5 million total in February. That was the lowest monthly total for medical marijuana since recreational sales began in January 2021, when medical dropped to just $42 million in sales.

Medical cannabis sales in 2021 peaked in April, topping out at $73.8 million.

Adult-use recreational sales started 2021 slow, but picked up speed in the spring, as more dispensaries opened. Through the summer, sales hovered around $60 million per month, before climbing in the fall and winter.

Cannabis sales translated to $21.5 million in February taxes, with a little more than $11 million credited to the 16% excise tax on recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana patients pay just the sales tax. Local jurisdictions charge an additional 2% or so for all marijuana sales.

Sales taxes on all cannabis sales in the state totaled $10.3 million in February, with $4.6 million coming from medical and $5.6 million from recreational.

About $4.5 million of those taxes went into the state’s general fund, and $737,000 went to public schools. 

Counties received about $995,000 of the excise tax and collected another $892,000 in sales taxes, while Arizona cities got $614,000 of the excise taxes and collected $2.5 million in sales taxes.

According to the State Treasurer’s office, which administers the state’s Smart and Safe Arizona Fund that voters created when they approved adult-use marijuana in 2020, community colleges across the state received $31 million in 2021.

Police, fire and sheriff’s departments received $30.2 million last year; the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund received $24.4 million; the Justice Reinvestment Fund received $9.6 million and the Attorney General’s Office received $191,959.

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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.

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