Statesman Examiner

Cannabis Sales Down in the State of Washington

- By Brandon Hansen / For The Statesman

Cannabis sales dropped for the first time in the state of Washington since it was legalized by a ballot measure in 2012 and retail stores began opening in 2014. Sales dropped by about eight percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. According to Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Spokespers­on Brian Smith, this is because more people returned to in- office work and had less time to use pot products.

From 2015 to 2022, sales have grown from 180 million to over 1.4 billion dollars. Sales increased during the pandemic as people had more free time and were at home.

The eight percent drop in sales equals a drop of about $ 120 million in revenue. The average consumer’s purchase of cannabis goods dropped from $ 34.14 in July of 2021 to $ 31.41 in July 2022 even with inflation rising. This however, a study showed, was because of fewer visits to a cannabis shop as opposed to simply spending less.

Still despite an overall drop, sales increased in Pend Oreille County by 60 percent. Although this could be attributed to the county’s small size in population. Total sales equaled $ 1.2 million.

In Stevens County, there were $ 7.7 million in cannabis sales, which is a two percent drop from last year. Ferry County’s sales grew by 1 percent to $ 1.4 million.

In larger counties such as King County, there was still plenty of business as over $ 340 million in cannabis sales occurred in 2022, making up 26 percent of total statewide sales. Despite this, there was a seven percent drop in sales. In Spokane County, there were $ 151 million in cannabis sales made or 11 percent of the state’s total pot sales. That too was a seven percent drop in sales when compared to last year.

Because of these sales, Washington State collected about $ 509 million in excise revenue. The state has a 37 percent tax on the sale of pot, the largest in the country. These high taxes have some cannabis business owners saying it’s driving customers to illegal drug dealers.

Twenty states in the United States have legalized the sale of cannabis, while another 17 offer medical cannabis. Only three states treat cannabis as illegal in all forms - Idaho, Kansas and Nebraska.

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