The State of Washington legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012. But it wasn’t until July 2014 until recreational marijuana sales started. After the delayed start of recreational marijuana sales, recreational marijuana sales numbers in Washington climbed steadily month after month. That streak ended last month when sales numbers took a dip in Washington for the first time. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
Retail shops reported $31.4 million in cannabis sales in July, down almost 6% from June, according to data from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Monthly sales had risen dramatically this year until July, more than doubling from January through June as the market hit it stride and more shops opened up.
Despite the July dip, sales so far this year total around $170 million, putting the state on pace to surpass $300 million for the year.
The total amount of excise tax due at the retail level rose by about $3.3 million after Washington State revised its tax structure at the start of last month.
This is good news and bad news for the State of Washington. The good news is the numbers are still high, and significant enough that no one should worry based off of the dip in sales numbers alone. The bad news is that this could just be the start of the decline of recreational marijuana in Washington. My home state, Oregon, is going to start recreational marijuana sales via established dispensaries on October 1st.
Once that happens, I don’t know that anyone is going to be traveling across the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington to purchase recreational marijuana because it’s going to be so much cheaper in Oregon. Washington sells grams for $19, whereas I’d expect Oregon to be as cheap as $5 per gram. If anything, I expect people from Washington to start coming to Portland for their marijuana. I know a couple of people that drove to Washington to purchase a symbolic legal gram or two, and they got such sticker shock and were so unimpressed with the flower that they bought that they couldn’t help but wonder why any Oregonian would make the journey to Washington for marijuana as is. Washington has the worst marijuana legalization law in the country, and it needs to be fixed.