Sales of marijuana products continue to grow in first quarter as some categories perform better than others

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Sales of adult-use marijuana products continued to grow in the first quarter of 2021 versus the same period last year with some categories such as beverages posting particularly strong gains.

Retail sales data for California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state – provided by Seattle-based analytics firm Headset – showed clear winners, including beverages, capsules and edibles.

The data also showed lackluster sales performances for vapes, pre-rolls and flower.

The beverage category continued to shine in the first quarter, leading all categories with sales growing 68.4% over the same period last year and 14.2% versus the fourth quarter of 2020.

Most beverage categories experienced double-digit growth going into 2021.

Iced tea, lemonade, and fruit drinks topped the category with 26.7% growth over the previous quarter and 144.35% versus the same period last year.

  • Tea, coffee and hot cocoa: 16.1% over previous quarter
  • Carbonated beverages: 14.7% over previous quarter
  • Water: 12.1% over previous quarter
  • Drops, mixes, elixirs and syrups: 11.4% over previous quarter

Edibles and capsules were also clear category winners, with both showing at least 5% growth over the previous quarter and 20% or more versus the first quarter of 2020.

Vape and pre-roll categories showed the least growth, with flower actually posting a decline.

While flower sales grew 32.4% over the first quarter of last year, they declined almost 1% versus the fourth quarter of 2020.

On the positive side, flower’s small drop flattens a downward trend for the category: Flower sales declined 12% in the fourth quarter after spectacular gains of 32% in the second quarter of 2020 and 15% in the third quarter that were driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It would be premature to call flower a loser as it continues to grow year-over-year and still commands the largest share of the market.

For comparison, beverage sales for the states analyzed were $31.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, while flower sales totaled $1.1 billion.

Andrew Long can be reached at

Percent change adult-use marijuana categories

Overall marijuana categories have grown since last year. A look at how specific segments within those categories have done. Data contains adult-use retail sales from California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. Oregon numbers contain medical sales. Source: Headset
CategorySegment% change from Q4 2020% change from Q1 2020
BeveragesTotal category14.2%68.4%
BeveragesDrops, Mixes, Elixirs, and Syrups11.4%39.0%
BeveragesIced Tea, Lemonade, and Fruit26.7%144.4%
BeveragesSports and Energy-11.4%6.2%
BeveragesTea, Coffee and Hot Cocoa16.1%-28.0%
CapsulesTotal category5.9%29.6%
CapsulesCBD / CBN-2.3%3.9%
ConcentratesTotal category2.6%36.2%
ConcentratesBadder / Budder10.6%86.2%
ConcentratesBubble Hash / Full Melt-7.0%102.5%
ConcentratesCrystalline / THCA / CBDA-3.4%76.7%
ConcentratesHoney Oil / Hash Oil-25.8%-16.5%
ConcentratesHoneycomb / Crumble-1.6%43.7%
ConcentratesLive Resin7.8%38.5%
ConcentratesRSO / WPE / Full Spectrum3.2%5.7%
ConcentratesTanker / Applicator / Syringe-9.7%-27.7%
EdiblesTotal category5.1%20.2%
EdiblesBrownie, Blondie, and Cereal Bars-0.7%-6.0%
EdiblesCandy, Lozenge and Gum-1.6%-6.6%
EdiblesCaramels, Chews and Taffy11.0%6.1%
EdiblesHoney, Sugar and Sweeteners-10.6%-28.9%
EdiblesIngredients (Cooking Oil, Flour, etc.)-16.3%-3.4%
EdiblesSavory Edibles-12.1%0.1%
FlowerTotal category-1.0%32.4%
FlowerCBD - Popcorn-30.9%90.7%
FlowerGround Flower-12.4%575.9%
FlowerHybrid - Popcorn-5.8%73.2%
FlowerIndica - Popcorn2.1%50.9%
FlowerSativa - Popcorn5.1%99.1%
FlowerShake and Trim-25.8%1.3%
FlowerSpecialty / Infused4.2%143.0%
Pre-rollsTotal category0.8%41.2%
Pre-rollsCannagars / Blunts3.9%200.4%
Pre-rollsCBD - Single Strain-11.3%-9.9%
Pre-rollsConnoisseur / Infused10.9%154.4%
Pre-rollsHybrid - Single Strain-4.7%17.6%
Pre-rollsIndica - Single Strain-6.4%6.2%
Pre-rollsMixed Strain67.8%181.1%
Pre-rollsSativa - Single Strain0.5%1.9%
Tinctures & SublingualsTotal category3.9%-6.1%
Tinctures & SublingualsBreathstrips and Sublingual Pouches13.9%-8.5%
Tinctures & SublingualsOral Spray3.6%9.7%
Tinctures & SublingualsTincture3.8%-6.8%
TopicalsTotal category4.1%-1.3%
TopicalsBath Salts, Soaks and Scrubs5.3%4.1%
TopicalsLip Balm-8.1%-8.7%
TopicalsLotion, Salves, Gels, and Creams3.6%1.6%
TopicalsMassage Oil / Lube1.9%-25.0%
TopicalsTransdermal Products6.2%-25.8%
Vape pensTotal category2.4%29.4%
Vape pensAll-in-one Disposable4.4%41.3%
Vape pensAll-in-one Rechargeable101.5%33.1%
Vape pensCartridge2.2%28.3%
Vape pensRefill / E-Juice-38.7%-53.9%