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US (CO): Pandemic affects cannabis prices

Colorado cannabis sales and prices are both dropping, in what may be more than a seasonal trend. The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division's latest average market rate (AMR), a set of median prices for different categories of wholesale cannabis, fell across the board from October to December, with the most noticeable difference in the flower categories.

According to the AMR, the price per pound of cannabis dropped 28 percent, from $1,316 to $948. The shift in prices extends to cannabis trim, flower allocated for extraction, and trim allocated for extraction, the MED reports, while dispensary traffic has continued to slow on a monthly basis all fall.

Not all dispensaries and growers believe the AMR accurately reflects the retail market, but it is hard to deny that there has been a shift over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect retail and cannabis consumption habits. Retail cannabis was also harder to find in 2020 as cultivators struggled to maintain fluctuating demand, according to Ajoya dispensaries director of operations Kate Heckman.

The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting's most recent quarterly economic forecast expects cannabis revenue to decline in the next fiscal year and resume slower growth by 2023, echoing previous predictions in July. Cannabis businesses are not panicking yet, nor have they shown much concern. "There has been a little bit of a dip in state levels. Coming off 2020 was such a hard year to beat. We've personally been measuring our growth against 2019, and we're seeing healthy growth," explains Buck Dutton, marketing director for Native Roots, a Colorado dispensary chain. "As much as inflation drove everything up this year, we've charged the exact same thing for our flower at the customer level in 2021 as we did in 2020, and I don't see much changing in 2022." 

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