Make Way for Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) recently shared that the state collected $1.8 billion in cannabis sales during 2023. The figure reflects a combined total of recreational cannabis sales ($1.56 billion) and medical cannabis sales ($225 million). That’s a significant increase between total sales from 2022, which landed at a total of $1.49 billion ($1.42 billion for adult-use sales and $260.2 million for medical cannabis sales). “This continued growth confirms that Massachusetts’ regulated marijuana industry is still a maturing market,” CCC acting chair Ava Concepcion said in a press release. “As more retailers and delivery licensees come online, flower prices start to stabilize, and the stigma surrounding cannabis slowly dissipates—legal, tested products are becoming more accessible, affordable, and approachable than ever before, and that’s reflected in the multiple sales records licensees broke in 2023.”

Sales from December 2023 showed the highest amount of sales collected for a single month at $140.1 million, surpassing the previously highest month for sales since August 2023. Massachusetts’s adult-use cannabis industry was approved by voters in November 2016, and sales first began in November 2018. Over time, the cost of cannabis flower has greatly decreased, with the CCC recording the price of an average ounce at $14.13 in December 2020 that dropped to $5.66 per ounce as of December 2023. In year-to-date milestone statistics for Massachusetts’s adult-use cannabis industry, which began in December 2018, it collected $1 billion in sales in October 2020, $2 billion in August 2021, $3 billion in April 2022, $4 billion in December 2022, and $5 billion in August 2023

Sales, Jobs, & More!

Ever since Michigan launched adult-use sales in December 2019, the state has become one of the fastest growing cannabis industries. Following the release of December 2023 sales data, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) shared that the state collected a total of $3.06 billion in combined adult-use and medical cannabis sales in 2023, which is major growth compared to sales collected in 2022 ($2.3 billion in combined sales). CRA executive director, Brian Hanna, told WGVU Public Media that the continued success of Michigan’s adult-use cannabis industry is due to a few factors, including cannabis tourism. “We are a state that has an adult use program surrounded by states that don’t,” Hanna told the news outlet. He also added that based on the $3.06 billion from 2023 cannabis sales, that would equate to $305 per capita, or an average amount per person.

Sales aren’t the only increase seen in the Michigan cannabis industry, as Hanna told Crain’s Detroit that there has been an increase in job opportunities as well. 

“As we head into 2024, the CRA continues to focus on transparency and communication, working with stakeholders as the industry continues to grow,” said Hanna. “We’re committed to supporting Michigan’s cannabis licensees who currently employ over 35,000 employees, a 23% increase from December 2022.”

State in Decline

Data published by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) on Feb. 1 in its monthly licensing report show a continued decrease in overall active cannabis business licenses, as well as patient numbers. While OMMA data from February 2023 shows that the state once had 11,974 active cannabis business licenses in total, that number has decreased to 8,025 licenses as of February 2024. This total includes 4,347 cultivator licenses, 2,293 dispensary licenses, 1,248 processor licenses, 98 transportation licenses, and 26 lab testing licenses.

Oklahoma voters made it clear that they don’t want adult-use legalization when they rejected Oklahoma State Question 820 in March 2023, but February 2024 data shows that medical cannabis patient numbers are also dropping as well. In February 2023, Oklahoma had 369,468 active medical cannabis patient cardholders and 1,554 caregivers, and 2024 numbers reflect a decrease to 345,308 licensed patients and 1,304 caregivers.

In response to significant oversaturation in the cannabis industry, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3208 in May 2022 to implement a moratorium on cannabis business licenses. The ban was extended in May 2023, and is currently set to last until at least August 2026. However, according to an OMMA-commissioned report called “Cannabis Public Policy Consulting” that was published in June 2023, Oklahoma still had 32 times more cannabis than necessary in order to meet the demand of approximately 355,000 medical cannabis patients (the OMMA’s patient number for that month).

Parity in Pricing

Both legal and illegal Canadian cannabis prices are nearly the same, according to a recent data revelation. A company called Deloitte, which offers audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services, alongside publication collaborator Neobi, recently published a report entitled “Clearing the Smoke—Insights into Canada’s Illicit Cannabis Market.” The research report evaluated 624 legal and 57 illegal online stores in Canada between May and June 2023. One of the study’s most notable observations included a flower price comparison from both legal and illegal stores—which stated that the price difference showed that illegal flower was only 20% cheaper. When reviewing varying flower prices between one gram and up to 28 grams, the average price from illegal cannabis was $6.24 per gram, compared to $7.96 per gram for flower in legal stores. 

“The gap in prices has considerably narrowed since the last pricing comparison performed by Statistics Canada in Q4-2019, when illicit flower products were priced 55% lower, with the current average price at $5.73 per gram for the legal market—indicating that declining prices in the legal market may have contributed to more capture of the market,” authors of the report explained. 

Other findings included how legal stores had fewer stock keeping unit (SKU) counts (538) compared to illegal websites (918). When examining the breakdown between product percentages, legal storefront inventory included 25.6% flower, 25% pre-rolls, 16.1% edibles, 13.1% extracts, 11.1% vapes, 6.6% beverages, 2.2% topicals, 0.3% seeds, and 0.0% for other psychedelics that are currently illegal. Illegal store inventory looks quite different though, with 36.9% of all inventory being flower, followed by 2.6% pre-rolls, 15% edibles, 32.7% extracts, 4.3% vapes, 0.5% beverages, 0.9% topicals, and 7.1% other psychedelics.

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