Weed sales in decline in largest drop since legalization
Denver reported a 22% decline in marijuana sales from 2021 to 2022 as weed sales cool across the state.
DENVER — Denver's weed sales are coming down from a high – and they're coming down fast.
A new report from the City and County of Denver shows a 22% decline in annual marijuana sales revenue from 2021 to 2022 – the largest annual drop since legalization.
Weed sales are cooling across Colorado, but the portion of sales made in Denver fell to its lowest percentage of sales statewide in 2022, the report said.
"In my opinion, it's the worst city to operate a cannabis business in right now," said Lance Perryman, the chief operating officer at Silverpeak Cannabis. "We’re hanging on by a string."
He said sales at the company's two Denver locations are down about 30% – a steeper decline than his other five stores across the Front Range and high country, where foot traffic has remained steady or even increased.
Cost-conscious consumers are buying less and less pricey products, said Truman Bradley with the Marijuana Industry Group.
"The ripple effect to employees and customers can’t be overstated either," he said. "As cannabis sales drop, so do the tax revenues."
Denver reports lower marijuana tax collection totals in 2022 compared to 2021 – $18 million worth.
"Some of the other communities here in Colorado don't have quite as much competition as we have in Denver. They're able to withstand the downturn a little better," Bradley said.
Perryman blamed the downturn on a decline in foot traffic and tourism combined with an increase in minimum wage and regulation. Competition is also a factor -- his LoDo store is located right next to another dispensary, which forces him to keep prices low.
"Prices have dropped down and costs have gone up. It does not equal success in business," Perryman said.
He said his company has moved some operations out of the city and may be forced to close its Denver store entirely if the situation doesn't improve.
"I don't know how we survive. I really don't," he said.