Arizona Medical Marijuana Sales Spike Prior to New Testing Requirement Implementation Photo by Richard T on Unsplash
December 1, 2020

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) recently released its monthly report on the state’s medical cannabis program for October 2020. Total sales volume climbed to a new historic peak for the state’s market in October. Increased demand last month preceded the implementation of required quality assurance and safety testing of products at the beginning of this month, the first time that such screenings have been mandated in Arizona’s medical program. As demand jumped back up and compulsory product testing began, Arizona’s Spot Index climbed to what was at the time an annual peak in the final week of October.

As of October, Arizona’s medical cannabis program counted 287,715 patients on its rolls. That figure is up by 2.8% from the 279,760 patients registered in the program at the end of September. The number of registered patients in Arizona in October 2020 is also up by 29.3% year-over-year, from 222,570 in October 2019.

According to ADHS numbers, 17,286 pounds of cannabis flower were sold through the state’s dispensaries in October, a figure that is up by 7% compared to the 16,148 pounds retailed to registered patients in September. October’s increased sales volume represents a new record for the state’s market and comes after flower sales volume contracted in each of the two months prior. October 2020’s flower sales volume is up by 24.8% from 13,856 pounds in the same month the year prior.

The ADHS report also includes sales volume figures for edibles and “marijuana other,” which constitutes extracts and non-edible infused products. October saw 364 pounds of edibles sold, up by 2% from 357 pounds sold the month prior. October 2020’s edibles sales volume is down year-over-year by 29.3%, from 515 pounds in the same month a year ago. An annual downturn in monthly edibles sales volume has been reported for each month so far this year.

“Marijuana other” products saw their sales volume jump back up in October. 1,816 pounds of “marijuana other” products were retailed in Arizona in October, compared to 1,673 in September, an increase of 8.5%. This product category has experienced massive year-over-year growth, with October 2020’s sales volume up by 114.7%, from 846 pounds in October 2019.

Combined sales volume of all product types reached 19,465 pounds in October, up by 7.1% from September’s total sales volume of 18,179 pounds. As with flower sales volume, October 2020’s cumulative sales volume is a new record high for Arizona’s market, surpassing the previous one established in July. October 2020’s cumulative sales volume is up 27.9% relative to a year prior, when dispensaries sold 15,216 pounds of product to patients.

Arizona’s Spot Index turned upward in October, reaching what was at the time a year-to-date high in the final week of the month that has since been surpassed. Arizona’s Spot averaged $1,394 per pound in October, up by 5.4% from September’s monthly mean of $1,322 per pound. As we noted at the outset of this section, new required testing of products that went into effect on November 1 likely contributed to higher wholesale prices, in addition to record-setting demand.