Arizona's cannabis market lost close to $7 million in August as sales of both adult-use and medical marijuana products declined by $3.5 million from the previous month, according to the most recent Treasury Department data.
However, losses were avoided when ADOR raised July totals by about $7 million.
Despite the overall decline, cannabis sales in the first eight months of 2022 totaled more than $980 million, and before the year is up, it is anticipated that they will reach, if not surpass, the $1.4 billion mark.
The market for medical marijuana continued to shrink steadily in August, dropping from July's estimated $37.3 million to $34.1 million. Even though March marked the beginning of the current decrease in medical sales, the totals are still much below the $71.3 million reported in July 2021 or the $73.3 million in March 2021, which was the highest month since recreational sales started in the US in January of this year.
Despite a small uptick in July, adult leisure sales have also decreased from a record high of $81.2 million in April. According to updated July sales estimates, Arizonans spent $78.1 million in that month. Sales decreased marginally to $74.5 million in August.
In September 2021, medical marijuana sales last outpaced those of recreational marijuana. For that month, ADOR reported $63.4 million in medical sales and $58.5 million in recreational sales, but subsequent monthly reporting has shown that the two programs are progressing in different directions.
As of October 2021, medical sales had recently increased month over month by around $65.1 million, while leisure sales had increased month over month by about $65.6 million. Since then, as the programs took radically different courses, recreational programming has surpassed medical sales by more than $40 million.
Sales of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes brought in close to $20.5 million in tax revenue for August, $11.9 million of which came from the 16 % marijuana use tax imposed on such sales. Nearly $21.8 was added to the total for July, with approximately $12.5 million coming from consumption tax.
The distribution and payment of taxes will be based on whether proposal 207 is approved by voters.
Community colleges and districts with temporary community college status receive 1/3 of the tax revenue as a donation. Public safety, which includes police, fire districts, and first responders, receives 31% of all taxes collected. The Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund receives 25% of the taxes collected. The Judiciary Reinvestment Fund receives 10% of all collected income. Its objective is to provide community services, such as public health services, job training, counseling, and other services, to communities that are adversely and disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests and criminalization.
Unlike ADOR, which publishes monthly records on cannabis sales and tax receipts, the Arizona Department of Health Services publishes monthly statistics on approved patients and total pound sales.
The medical reports give a preview of likely medical marijuana sales because the ADHD reports are one month ahead of the ADOR finance reports.
Sales and enrollment in Arizona's medical marijuana program are steadily falling, according to the ADHD report for September. There were 136,010 cardholders in the state in September, as opposed to 144,678 in August. As of June, there were 191,682 active cardholders.
In comparison to January, when patients made nearly 600,000 purchases totaling £9,273, the amount of medical marijuana sold in pounds through September has decreased by almost half, to £5,061.
Voters in Arizona gave their approval to Prop 207, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which allows marijuana usage for recreational purposes starting in 2020. 2010 saw the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and 2012 saw the start of the medical marijuana industry.