According to the Seattle Times, this year has been the first in the decade since legalization was approved by voters that cannabis sales have decreased. The decline puts a halt to rising sales that had been occurring since the Washington market opened in 2014, including a considerable increase during the outbreak.
After voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures to legalize the recreational use and sale of small amounts of cannabis in 2012.
Since then, sales have grown exponentially – from about $180 million in 2015 to over $1.3 billion as of July 2022. In the 2022 fiscal year, the state collected $509 million in excise revenue.
However, the cannabis industry’s growth slowed for the first time in the 2022 fiscal year compared to previous years. Retail sales recorded a 8% decline over 2021 — a drop of about $120 million in revenue.
“What you’re seeing as a ‘dip’ is really sales returning to normal growth as more people returned to in-person work,” said Brian Smith, spokesperson for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
As reported by Ganjapreneur, the Washington CannaBusiness Association stated decreased sales could be related to hefty taxes on cannabis goods. The state holds a 37% excise tax on cannabis sales, which, combined with a high sales tax rate, sees some Washingtonians paying an average of 46.2% in taxes on cannabis purchases.
The 2022 MJBiz Factbook predicts that the total amount of money made from the sale of cannabis for adult use in Washington will be anywhere between $1.3 and $1.5 billion