Colorado marijuana industry experiencing ‘largest downturn that we’ve ever seen’

Many factors are leading to a decrease in revenue for an industry that's only a decade old, and it's threatening the funding of public projects.

Marc Sallinger
A marijuana bud is pictured at Breckenridge dispensary in December 2017.
Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News archive

DENVER — Colorado’s marijuana industry knows what it’s like to feel the high, but now the buzz is wearing off. Marijuana sales have declined for more than a year in the state, threatening public programs funded by the tax revenue the sales produce.

In an industry that’s built on getting high, marijuana sales are now seeing record lows.

“Right now, the Colorado marijuana industry is going through the largest downturn that we’ve ever seen,” said Truman Bradley, Executive Director of the Wheat Ridge-based Marijuana Industry Group. “Our industry is going through big time layoffs. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and small business owners are going under. Unfortunately, I expect that to continue into the coming year.”

So why is this all happening now? It starts with supply and demand. When everyone was sent home in 2020, let’s just say there wasn’t much to do. That resulted in a big spike in marijuana sales during the pandemic. Now that people aren’t stuck at home, they aren’t buying as much weed.

“The medical market is down about 47% statewide and the recreational market is down about 20%. Those are huge, huge, numbers,” Bradley said. “To put that into perspective, that means there is a hundred million dollars less in marijuana tax revenue than there was a year ago. What that means is critical programs that are funded by marijuana tax revenue are at risk.”


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