Retails Sales of Cannabis in Oregon Rebound in December to Nearly $55 Million
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) recently provided sales and production data for December, as well as an update of unsold inventory in the licensed market as of the beginning of this year. Sales revenue and volume for all product types experienced an uptick in the final month of 2018, with total flower sales volume for the year reaching roughly 170,000 pounds, an increase of around 55% compared to 2017.
The most recent OLCC data shows that total retail sales reached about $55 million in December, up by almost 5% compared to revenues of roughly $52.5 million generated in November. December is the first time that a month-over-month uptick in retail sales revenues has been seen since August 2018, when they reached their peak for the year of over $60 million.
In December, sales revenue generated by general consumers increased, while that from purchases made by registered patients was stable compared to the month prior. Adult-use consumers spent over $50 million at licensed retailers in Oregon in December, up from about $48 million in November. Meanwhile, sales to patients held steady at a bit under $5 million from November to December.
Breaking down retail sales by the OLCC’s product categories – “usable marijuana” (the OLCC’s term for flower, trim, and pre-rolls), concentrates and extracts, and edibles and tinctures – the dollar value and volume of each group increased in December. Revenue from sales of flower rose to just under $27.5 million in December, up from roughly $26.3 million in November. Concentrates and extracts generated about $14.5 million in retail revenue in December, up from around $14 million the month prior. Finally, sales of edibles and tinctures accounted for roughly $6.25 million of December’s total revenue, up from about $5.7 million in November.
Regarding usable marijuana, December saw over 15,500 pounds of product sold to patients and consumers, up from around 15,000 pounds in November. Based on the revenue generated by flower sales in December, noted just above, statewide retail prices for such product averaged about $1,775 per pound, up from an average retail rate of $1,750 per pound in November. While retail prices have reportedly fallen significantly in Oregon along with wholesale rates, state data analyzed in conjunction with our price assessments indicates that licensed storefronts can still achieve strong margins on flower. Additionally, a pound of flower almost certainly retails for higher than the average prices that we just calculated, as it is nearly always sold in increments smaller than an ounce – only registered medical patients may purchase larger quantities – and at higher rates.
Harvest figures for December reinforce what was observed over the course of the three prime harvest season months (September through November), which is that production was steady in 2018 compared to the year prior. Licensed growers brought in about 125,000 pounds of wet plant material in December 2018, virtually the same amount harvested in the same month of 2017. Overall for Q4 2018, Oregon cultivators cut down over 3.5 million pounds of wet plant material, slightly more than in the same period the year prior. However, September 2017 saw larger harvest numbers that September 2018, making the totals for the final four months of each year quite comparable.
Oregon’s statewide inventory of unsold usable marijuana continued to increase from a month ago. As of the beginning of 2019, about 1.35 million pounds of dried flower and trim were logged in the state’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS), up from under 1.3 million pounds in early December. Growers and wholesalers were likely still working in November and December to process the fall harvest, as well as crops cut down in the final month of the year, adding to last month’s total.