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Montana recreational cannabis sales top $43 million in first quarter of 2022

Montana recreational cannabis sales top $43 million in first quarter of 2022

Montana recreational cannabis dispensary sales

In its first three months of operation, Montana recreational cannabis sales have surpassed $43 million, resulting in nearly $9 million in tax revenue for the state.

According to the state’s Department of Revenue, Montana recreational cannabis produced $43,537,110 in sales, compared to medical cannabis which generated $29,373,731 in sales during the same period.

Voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize Montana recreational cannabis in 2020, the same year three other states — Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey — passed similar measures. However state officials wouldn’t approve regulations for a legal cannabis marketplace until October 2021.

This late action created a short deadline for the state’s Department of Revenue Cannabis Control Division to build out the framework for legal sales in Montana.

“The deadlines are aggressive,” Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, said at the time. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”

“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” Barbour added.

However despite the delays and tight deadlines, the Montana recreational cannabis market opened right on time, New Years Day 2022. On January 1 an estimated 380 dispensaries opened their doors in 29 counties across the state.

The state brought in an estimated $1.5 millions in adult-use sales in the opening weekend, a number that would snowball over the next couple months. While money isn’t the only reason a state like Montana would legalize cannabis, it is at the top of the list.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, states have generated over $11 billion in tax revenue through legal cannabis. On average, a state with adult-use cannabis sales generated more than $3.7 billion in total revenue in 2021.

However another growing reason for multiple states legalizing cannabis is the failing War on Drugs. In 2018, 40% (yes, 40%) of all drug arrests in the US were for cannabis, typically possession. Think about the resources and dollars that go into arresting, processing, and housing all of these mostly non-violent offenders.

In March the Montana Supreme Court issued temporary rules for procedures that would allow those with past cannabis-related convictions to have them expunged. The state’s new cannabis law says “anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense,” according to local television station KPAX.

Just for comparison, Oklahoma, an equally red state with just a medical cannabis program that launched in 2019 brought in nearly $500 million in its first year of sales. Then the state nearly doubled that number in 2020.

Comparatively Montana recreational cannabis sales seem pretty miniscule. However it has only been three months. Should the trend continue, the state could easily see over $200 million in sales its first year.

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico legal cannabis dispensary

New Mexico recreational cannabis sales are set to start on April 1. While retailers aren’t too concerned about meeting the demands on opening day, nerves are still running high.

Hundreds of retail dispensaries will be opening their doors on April 1, and the excitement is palpable.

“We really expect that first day of business to be filled with excitement,” said Kristen Thomson, director of the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Some business owners have expressed concerns about whether supply will be able to meet demand in early days of legal sales. Thomson said she is certain cannabis growers have enough products to keep stores stocked.

“We do not have concerns about lack of product,” she said. “As with any new gadget or restaurant or something opening, some products may come up short, but we do not anticipate a massive statewide shortage of product on opening day.”

In addition to the medical cannabis dispensaries that have been in operation for years already, over 220 recreational dispensaries have been approved to open. However it is unclear exactly how many will be open for business on day one. Many of these licenses also include integrated licenses for businesses that produce, manufacture, deliver and sell cannabis products.

Thomson added that the biggest hurdle retailers are facing prior to opening day is getting approved for zoning in their specific municipalities. Other businesses that will be open on the first of legal sales don’t share the same optimism as Thomson regarding supply.

Cannabis tax revenue surpasses $10 billion in legal states

Cannabis tax revenue surpasses $10 billion in legal states

cannabis tax revenue surpassed $10 billion

Sales taxes collected by states with legal cannabis programs totaled $10.4 billion as of December since the adult use market launched in 2014 in Colorado and Washington State, according to a study by The Marijuana Policy Project.

A report released Thursday by the pro-industry group said the $10.4 billion figure includes more than $3 billion in sales tax reported in 2021, thus far.

“States that have legalized cannabis for adults are reaping significant economic benefits,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.

The tax revenue helps fund education, school construction, early literacy, public libraries, behavioral health, alcohol and drug treatment, veterans’ services, conservation, job training, conviction expungement expenses, and community reinvestment.

“In many instances that revenue is being distributed to much needed public services and programs, including reinvesting in communities that were devastated by the war on drugs,” O’Keefe said. “This is in stark contrast to [cannabis] prohibition, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year to enforce.”

Some examples include $471.9 million toward improving the public education system in Colorado and more than $100 million in California for community and non profit groups that help people impacted by drug laws.

In Illinois, cannabis tax revenue has outpaced revenue from liquor taxes. According to data from the state, adult use cannabis generated about $193 million in tax revenue from July through the end of November, compared to about $141.3 million over the same period for liquor sales taxes, which include levies on beer, wine and spirits.

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis sales top $2 billion

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission this week released numbers revealing sales of recreational marijuana has topped $2 billion dollars in the first three years of legalization.

The first Massachusetts recreational cannabis dispensaries opened for business in November 2018.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively impacted other businesses, cannabis sales remains strong.

At Seed Recreational Dispensary in Jamaica Plain, which opened in March 2021, Assistant General Manager Bobby Driscoll is not surprised.

“I’m not surprised. It is definitely moving a little quicker than I think some of us in the industry had anticipated,” Driscoll said. “I think it was something we were waiting for, for a long time. A lot of people sacrificed a lot to get us to this point.”

Driscoll anticipates demand will remain strong, even as new dispensaries are approved and open for business.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Sales Set Record in June

Missouri Medical Marijuana Sales Set Record in June

missouri medical marijuana sets new sales record

Missouri’s medical marijuana industry topped $70 million in cumulative sales, including nearly $16.4 million in June, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Eight months after the state’s first dispensary opened in October 2020, 126 dispensaries operate throughout the state. Those dispensaries, plus manufacturers, transporters, and laboratories, total 201 medical marijuana facilities in the state.

“This is essentially Missouri’s newest twenty-first century industry,” Alan Zagier, a representative from the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, said. “Now we’re really at the moment when rubber hits the road, and we’re really starting to see the results of all this hard work our members have put in.”

Zaiger said the industry contributes to a post-COVID economy.

“The benefit extends to not just cannabis patients but also to the workforce,” he said. “This is a real shot in the arm for lots of communities across the state. These are real, tangible jobs.”

A total of 375 facilities have been licensed to handle medical marijuana by DHSS.

“We’re not just talking about dispensaries in our urban centers in St. Louis and Kansas City, and even there in mid-Missouri,” Zaiger said. “We’re talking about dispensaries in places like Hayti and Caruthersville.”

Shangri-La Dispensaries is one of those facilities, with dispensaries in Columbia and Jefferson City.

“Business is phenomenal,” Michael Lafrieda, the Chief Operating Officer for Shangri-La, said. The dispensary sees “several hundred [customers] a day. On some of the longer holiday weekends, a couple thousand people.”

Lafrieda said his customers range in age from teens to eighties. Zaiger said that nearly 121,000 Missourians have been approved as medical marijuana patients, with many more applications.

“For the sake of comparison,” Zaiger said. “Illinois has about 12.6 million residents, so that’s more than double of Missouri. And even now, several years into their program, they currently only have 55 licensed retail outlets open, so that’s less than half of the number that we have open in less than a year’s time.”