Sales of cannabis fluctuate throughout the year across Colorado, Washington and Oregon, with individual days, like Fridays, serving as most weeks’ sales summits, and holidays like July 4 and of course 4/20 boosting cannabis sales significantly.
But while 4/20 receives most of the attention — and indeed, the day itself last year was the biggest sales day of the year in Colorado, Washington and Oregon —the most impressive multi-day sales extravaganza is Labor Day weekend. Sales during that weekend are especially effervescent in Colorado’s adult-use market, which indicates tourists in Colorado out for one last summer hurrah are contributing towards the holiday’s impressive sales.
Last year cannabis sales between Friday and Sunday of the holiday weekend made it the busiest weekend of the year, with $29.94 million in sales of products such as Sour Diesel (flower), gummies, vape pens and salves. The following weekend, by comparison, saw $24.64 million, according to cannabis market research leader BDS Analytics. During the first weekend in July, which last year was July 4 weekend, dispensaries sold $26.98 million.
The busy weekend helps boost September into the No. 1 slot for busiest month of the year for retail cannabis sales. Last year, dispensaries in the three states sold $238.7 million worth of cannabis during September.
The commercial ferment is especially effervescent in Colorado. In Colorado, sales over the labor day weekend (Friday-Sunday) reached $17.3 million in 2016, 18 percent higher than the next biggest weekend, the three days before the 4th of July.
And the weekend helped propel September beyond August, in terms of sales. September sales in Colorado last year were No. 1, at $127.9 million. August held the No. 2 slot at $126.1 million. That $1.8 million in difference between August and September leads us to Labor Day weekend, with it’s heavily boosted sales.
The Labor Day Weekend extravaganza remains in Washington, albeit a bit muted in comparison to Colorado. Labor Day weekend last year (Friday through Monday) translated into $8.05 million in sales for Washington dispensaries. That is in advance of all other weekends for the year, except for one — the first weekend in October, when dispensaries sold $8.13 million.
In addition, September beats all of the months of the year, except for one — December. Washington dispensaries sold $70.68 million worth of weed in September, but the banner month of December brought in $72.93 million.
Studying retail trends in Oregon is less instructive. The state banned the sale of cannabis products other than flower in the Beaver State until June of last year, and due to regulatory snafus, dispensary sales in the fall were depressed.
Building cannabis businesses takes smarts, savvy and a lot of hard work. It’s fitting that the holiday dedicated to celebrating toil has evolved into a principal cannabis holiday.