August Cannabis Sales in Arizona Medical Program Establish New
Record High for Second Month in a Row

The Arizona Department of Health
Services (ADHS) recently released its monthly report on the state’s medical
cannabis program for August 2019. Retail
sales volume of flower – as well as all products combined – ascended to
establish new record highs for the second consecutive month. Meanwhile, the
state’s patient count slipped for the first time in recent memory. Arizona’s
Spot Index continued to trend downward gradually in August, the second straight
month in which it has been documented to do so.  

As of August, Arizona’s medical
cannabis program counted 204,271 patients on its rolls. That figure is down by
0.7% from the 205,609 patients registered in the program at the end of July.
Previously, Arizona’s medical cannabis patient count had risen consistently
through 2018 and the first seven months of this year.    

According to ADHS numbers, 13,367
pounds of cannabis flower were sold through the state’s dispensaries in August,
a figure that is up by 5.7% compared to the 12,650 pounds retailed to
registered patients in July. August is the second consecutive month in which
flower sales volume established a new record in Arizona’s medical cannabis

The ADHS report also includes
sales volume figures for edibles and “marijuana other,” which constitutes
extracts and non-edible infused products. August saw 497 pounds of edibles
sold, up by 0.6% from 494 pounds sold the month prior.

“Marijuana other” products
continued to see expansion in sales volume in August, though not of the
magnitude observed in July. 881 pounds of “marijuana other” products were
retailed in Arizona in August compared to 839 in July, an increase of 5%.

Combined sales volume of all
product types reached 14,745 pounds in August, up by 5.4% from July’s total
sales volume of 13,984 pounds. As was the case with flower sales volume,
August’s overall sales volume is now the historic high for Arizona’s market,
vaulting over the previous record set last month.

The ADHS report shows that demand
was elevated on August 30, the Friday ahead of Labor Day weekend. Although
sales on that Friday were higher than on any other Friday in August, they did
not spike extremely high as they have been observed to do on some other

Sales volume of “marijuana other”
products rose sharply as a state Supreme Court case on their legality drew
attention and progressed. The case was decided in late May, with the court
concluding that extracts and related products were legal in Arizona’s medical
cannabis system.

Persistent growth in sales of
“marijuana other” products recorded in ADHS report for August – three months
after the case was decided – affirm our earlier hypothesis that increased
demand for extracts since late last year has been due more to organic market
forces rather than specific anxieties about their potential illegality.

It remains to be seen whether
sales of “marijuana other” products will contract in September due to the
current epidemic of illnesses related to vaping. Arizona is one of the
country’s only regulated cannabis markets that does not currently require
quality assurance and safety testing of products, which could decrease consumer
confidence. Such testing is scheduled to begin late in 2020 under legislation
passed earlier this year.  

August 2019’s total sales volume
is up by 36.2% year-over-year, relative to the 10,826 pounds of all product
types sold to patients in August 2018. Considered on its own, August 2019’s
flower sales volume is up by a slightly smaller proportion – 33.6% – compared
to the 10,005 pounds retailed in the same month a year prior. The
year-over-year growth rate in edibles sales volume for August 2019 was lower
than that of flower at 28.1%. Meanwhile, the increase in sales volume of
“marijuana other” products from August 2018 to 2019 was 103.5%.