In 2022, Arizonans Spent Over $1.4 Billion on Marijuana Due To Recreational Sales!
The total amount of marijuana sold in Arizona in 2022 was identical to the amount sold in 2021, the first year of the legal adult-use market, but the routes each year took to reach $1.4 billion in sales were radically different. In 2021, medicinal marijuana sales accounted for roughly 55 percent of the total, or over $760 million.
In 2022, the recreational cannabis market reached about 70% of sales, or more than $950 million, while the medical cannabis industry plummeted to approximately $500 million. The recreational market ended 2022 with its best monthly total in December, clocking in at approximately $86.6 million, a modest rise over November sales of $85.8 million.
From November to December 2022, medical marijuana sales were steady, with a tiny decrease from $31.9 to $31.1 per month. Since the legalization of adult-use cannabis in January 2021, both marketplaces have generated $2.9 billion in total sales.
Since April 2021, medical sales have decreased nearly every month, with rare exceptions. With the exception of July 2021, when sales reached $71.6 million following a $5 million decline in June of the same year, medical sales have never before come close to this number.
April 2022 was the last time medical users spent more than $50 million in a single month. Patients have flocked to the recreational market, and makers of more potent medical marijuana products – edibles and other ingestible — have begun to modify their products for the recreational market.
In February 2021, the first full month of legal recreational sales, adult-use sales totaled approximately $40 million. This was the lowest full-month total for adult-use sales. In December, tax revenues totaled over $23 million.
In addition to the ordinary sales tax, the state levies an excise charge of 16% on recreational sales; medicinal customers pay around 6% in state sales tax. Municipal governments add approximately 2% to the price of all marijuana purchases. One-third of collected recreational taxes are allocated to community college and provisional community college districts.
31% to public safety — police, fire departments, fire districts, and first responders; 25% to the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund; and 10% to the justice reinvestment fund, which provides public health services, counseling, job training, and other social services to communities that have been adversely affected and disproportionately impacted by crime.
The Arizona Department of Health Services, which supervises cannabis regulation in the state, often publishes monthly reports on the medicinal program a month before the Arizona Department of Revenue. As of January, the total number of cardholders was 153,845, with a total of 128,621 qualified patients.
ADHS stated that these numbers were 155,682 and 129,836, respectively, in December 2022, a decrease of around 1,200. Five categories of cardholders exist throughout the state: qualifying patients, designated caregivers, dispensary agents, facility agents, and lab agents.
In stark contrast to the situation of medicinal marijuana at the start of 2021, when recreational sales began, these figures represent a dramatic improvement. ADHS reported a number of 309,479 medical cardholders in January 2021. There were 299,054 qualifying patients and 9,489 dispensary agents at that time.
(At the time, there was no facility agent designation.) In January, users purchased 5,435 pounds of medicinal marijuana, including 4,645 pounds of “flower” and the remaining in edibles or other forms. Arizona medicinal cannabis consumers purchased 18,708 pounds of marijuana in January 2021.