US Weed Sales Are Growing in Newly Legal States But Stagnating in Mature Markets
Cannabis sales in Maine and Missouri have grown by over 150% so far this year, but massive markets like Oregon and Colorado have declined by as much as 16%.
Published on August 25, 2022

Legal weed sales are growing exponentially in US states with newer cannabis markets, but shrinking in mature markets, according to a new industry analysis by MJBizDaily.

Missouri currently takes the crown for this year’s fastest-growing legal weed market. Between January and July, Missouri's medical marijuana dispensaries sold 174% more medicine than they did during the first half of 2021. Monthly sales have grown considerably since the state's first dispensaries opened their doors in 2020, eventually peaking at $36.7 million this April. And since it seems likely that voters will legalize adult-use weed this fall, the Show-Me State might top next year's list of fastest-growing markets too.

Maine comes in at a close second, boasting a 159% boost in adult-use sales over last year. Despite this impressive growth, Maine actually has the weakest adult-use market in the entire US. A shocking 93% of towns and cities in the state have banned weed shops from opening on their turf, the highest opt-out rate in the US. As a result, pot shops have only sold $81 million worth of bud so far this year – less than many other states sell in a single month. 

Other emerging adult-use markets also saw record growth this year. Arizona sold a record $75.5 million worth of recreational bud this April, pushing its half-year sales total 64% higher than 2021. Michigan also broke an all-time sales record this year, moving nearly $210 million worth of product in July. These record sales helped Michigan's adult-use market grow by 57% compared to the first half of 2021. Illinois and Massachusetts also saw sales boosts this year, but at a more modest rate of around 20%. 

Medical-only states have also seen some signs of growth in 2022. Utah's medical marijuana dispensaries sold 87% more cannabis in the first half of this year, and Iowa's modest market grew by 63% over 2021. But in states with thriving adult-use markets, medical cannabis sales are plummeting. As Michigan's adult-use sales have peaked, medical sales have plunged by over 41%. Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois have all seen their medical markets shrink by 10 to 16% as their recreational markets grow, too.

In a worrying trend, some of the most mature cannabis markets in the country are reporting declines in both medical and recreational sales. In Colorado, one of the first states to legalize adult-use weed, recreational sales dropped by 16% and medical sales fell by a record 42%. Oregon's medical marijuana market has declined by around 38% this year, and adult-use sales dropped by 15%. Adult-use markets in Nevada and Washington also declined by 16% and 13% respectively. 

California has remained a bold exception to this new trend. Despite struggles with black market competitors and excessive taxes, the Golden State's adult-use industry only shrunk by 2% compared to the first half of last year. And even with this slight decline, California still sold $432.5 million worth of recreational pot this July, more than twice the amount that any other state did.

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Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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