Arizona sets record with nearly $1.5B in marijuana sales in 2023

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Arizona cannabis retailers sold nearly $1.5 billion worth of recreational and medical marijuana in 2023, a record since the state launched adult-use sales in January 2021.

State operators’ $1,490,948,873 in marijuana sales last year was an increase of 4.9% from 2022, according to data released by the Arizona Department of Revenue.

It’s the second consecutive year of sales growth in Arizona since the launch of recreational sales, as the state has proved to be more immune to sales slumps that have hampered newer adult-use markets the past few years.

The state’s standing as a tourism and nightlife hot spot and host to major sporting events, including Major League Baseball’s Cactus League spring training events, might account for the sustained run.

The adult-use market drove the strong performance, accounting for more than 76% of total sales, up from 70% in 2022, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

Recreational shoppers accounted for only 45% of sales in 2021, the newspaper reported.

Arizona retailers have benefited from a key regulatory allowance prohibited in the vast majority of other markets – cannabis sales after midnight.

Guadalupe, a small Arizona town less than 1 square mile in size bordering Phoenix, allows 24/7 retail operations.

The market, however, has faced challenges, including the slow rollout of social equity retailers.

More than half of Arizona’s 26 social equity retail licensees missed a state-imposed deadline to open in October, a consequence of:

  • Lawsuits.
  • Torpedoed legislation benefiting social equity license holders.
  • Statewide zoning restrictions.
  • Widespread municipal opt-outs and partnership squabbles.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.