April is typically one of the busiest months for the marijuana industry in Colorado. April 20, widely known as 4/20, is the unofficial holiday for pot smokers. Many of them gather in public to celebrate the drug, which remains illegal at the federal level.
When Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012, the state began seeing an influx of visitors, spurring marijuana sales, especially in April.
“Colorado cannabis small business owners count on the weeks leading up to the 4/20 holiday to be some of the strongest sales of the year,” said Truman Bradley, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group.
Colorado marijuana sales dropped from $153 million in April 2022 to $131 million in April 2023. The Marijuana Industry Group noted that this was the "worst 4/20 in five years."
The drop in sales doesn't just impact business owners; it's also a major blow to the state's economy. The Marijuana Industry Group notes that the state collected 18% less in cannabis tax revenue from the year prior due to the lower sales. That money is used for everything from public safety to education and affordable housing projects.
State officials have not said what may have accounted for the drop, but it's no secret that Colorado no longer has the recreational marijuana market cornered.
Since 2012, nearly two dozen states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Two of Colorado's neighbors, Arizona and New Mexico, legalized the drug within the past three years.
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