State report indicates record monthly sales for Arizona’s recreational cannabis market


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis sales in Arizona managed to hit a record high during the month of October, when an estimated $58 million was generated in sales of adult-use cannabis for the entire month. 

This is according to state tax officials from the Arizona Department of Revenue.

Based on the Department’s report, of that monumental amount, almost $4.9 million in sales taxes or “privilege taxes” were amassed from the state’s recreational cannabis market in October. 

Plus, with the 16 percent excise tax added on top of the sales taxes, Arizonans spent an additional $9.7 million; primarily for edibles, raw plant material and potent resins. 

Arizona voters approved Proposition 207 in 2020, which resulted in the legalization of recreational cannabis consumption for adults aged 21 and above. Sales started in January 2021.

July saw the last record-breaking moment for adult-use cannabis sales in Arizona, at which point dispensaries successfully shifted $54.5 million worth of cannabis.

Arizona has evolved into one of the most cannabis-friendly states in the United States

Over a decade ago, the “Grand Canyon State” embraced a completely new industry that would eventually transform into one of the nation’s most successful.  

Arizona’s medical marijuana program was created after voters approved Proposition 203. Specifically, the law enabled patients who suffer from one of more qualifying conditions listed on the state’s eligibility criteria to buy cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries.

In an effort to tackle growing demand for medical cannabis, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) was granted regulatory authority over the nascent sector soon after the law’s passing. 

Then, last year, voters in Arizona contributed to the ballot box passing of Proposition 207, which resulted in the complete legalization of recreational cannabis consumption for adults aged 21 and above. 

Existing medical cannabis dispensary owners were provided with an opportunity to apply for dual licensure. This effectively meant that they could start selling the plant to recreational consumers, so long as it met Proposition 207’s requirements.

Arizona’s cannabis programs generated over $1.1 billion during the first 10 months of 2021

Since Arizona’s medical cannabis program has been around for longer, it’s understandable that this segment has accumulated a great deal more growth than the adult-use program. For October, ADOR officials estimate that the state’s medical cannabis industry generated $63 million in sales revenue.

Nonetheless, both programs managed to collectively rake in cannabis sales revenue to the amount of $1.1 billion for the first 10 months of 2021. This figure was drawn from approximately $641 million in medical cannabis sales and $466 million in recreational cannabis sales.

These impressive results mean that state coffers have been bulked by more than $175 million in tax revenue. Of that amount, almost $41 was allocated for the state’s general fund, whereas $22 million has been sent directly to the cities in which sales were made. An additional $6.6 million was earmarked for public school funding.