(This story has been updated with corrected numbers showing the changes from 2020 to 2021.)
Adult-use cannabis sales in Western states haven’t been able to keep the pace that led to exceptional growth in 2020, with lackluster summer sales showing a decline in growth from the previous year.
If 2020 were a normal year there might be cause for concern, but it wasn’t.
Marijuana sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state grew 39.2% in 2020 as consumers reacted to the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannabis retailers were deemed essential throughout much of the country.
But analysis of sales data from the states and Headset, a Seattle-based analytics firm, show that 2020 growth in five Western states began declining after May of this year.
Total growth of those five states is only 15.9% compared to the same time period in 2020.
A look at how each state is faring through 2021:
California experienced an amazing 57.5% growth from 2019 to 2020. Since then, adult-use sales growth in the state has slipped to 19.2% through October 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
Month-over-month growth also has been abysmal, with only March and July showing increases, most likely signs of good holiday sales leading into 4/20 and Independence Day.
Consumers usually make purchases well in advance of 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday. The numbers were also probably buffered by weak sales in February.
Colorado adult-use sales grew 24% between 2019 and 2020.
But that growth has slipped in 2021 to 11% through August over 2020 numbers of the same period. As with other states, March and July were notable highlights for the year.
Nevada’s reliance on tourism tempered its overall growth from 2019 to 2020, before the state reopened casinos in June 2020. Adult-use marijuana sales gained only 13% from 2019 to 2020.
Despite the recent slip this summer, things appear to be improving in Nevada with the opening of large conventions, such as MJBizCon in October.
Recreational marijuana sales in Nevada are up 28.5% when comparing 2020 to 2021 through September.
Oregon’s recreational sales grew 37.8% from 2019 to 2020 but are only 12.5% when comparing the same periods from 2020 to 2021.
Sales began to decline in May, with March and July the only months seeing growth from previous months.
Adult-use marijuana sales growth for Washington state topped 28% from 2019 to 2020.
But overall growth has been only 5.1% for comparable months in 2020 and 2021.
Sales patterns were similar to other states, with declines starting right before the summer in May.
Andrew Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.