Exclusive: Arizona Medical Marijuana Sales Hit $40M in First Year

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona sold roughly $40 million worth of cannabis and infused products during the past 12 months, according to Marijuana Business Daily‘s analysis of data provided by the state.

That amounts to about $520,000 in sales per dispensary. However, many of the 77 dispensaries currently operating opened in recent months. So the total market number – and the average per dispensary – will be higher when all centers have been running for a full year.

This represents the first solid look at sales in Arizona’s medical marijuana market. The state’s cannabis industry appears to be running on all cylinders and now ranks as one of the top five MMJ markets in the country based on annual revenues.

The market number is derived from transaction data the Arizona Department of Health released this week at the request of the Phoenix New Times.

The state said patients purchased 5,279 pounds, or 84,464 ounces, of medical cannabis in raw form from the time the first dispensary opened on Dec. 6, 2012, through Dec. 9, 2013. The figure does not include marijuana edibles or infused products.

With average prices of around $50-$55 an eighth (the most common purchase), that equates to about $36 million in sales. Add in estimated revenue from edibles and infused products, and the market comes in at around $40 million.

The potential for market growth going forward is strong. Another 20 dispensaries could open in the next year, and the overall customer base is expected to grow as the industry matures and stabilizes.

“The average patient purchase per transaction will probably continue to stay where it is now, but where you’re going to see the growth will be in the overall patient count,” said Kris Krane of the MMJ consultancy 4Front Advisors.

The state now has approximately 44,000 registered MMJ patients, or about .07% of the population. That number could grow by 5,000 to 10,000 next year, some predict.

Over the past year, patients completed 376,231 transactions at medical marijuana dispensaries, for an average of 9.5 purchases per patient, according to the state data.

Arizona has a relatively liberal qualifying medical conditions list that includes the catch-all “chronic pain.” Many registered patients list that as their qualifying ailment. In states that don’t allow chronic pain, the patient and market numbers are much lower.