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Colorado’s cannabis industry has fallen on hard times. What does the future hold?

The heyday of cannabis sales in Colorado — back in 2020 when recreational and medical sales topped out at a combined $226 million — is a distant memory, as the state’s dispensaries struggle through an economic downturn, with sales plummeting and small businesses foundering.

“The market’s just bad. It’s bad right now,” said 29-year-old Val Tonazzi, who works in cannabis sales. “There are businesses closing, left and right.”

In March, Colorado’s total medical cannabis sales were about $17 million — around $5 million less than last March. Retail cannabis sales racked up to $122 million, but that’s still a $17 million drop from March 2022.

It’s an improved outlook from February, when medical cannabis sales dipped to their lowest point since retail sales began — around $15 million. And sales for both recreational and medical cannabis totaled to over $139 million, which is the highest it’s climbed to since last October.

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