After months of record-high growth, Norman dispensaries experienced their first revenue decline in August.
According to data from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, local dispensaries remitted $3.19 million in gross revenue in August, a decrease of more than $1 million from July. August also marks the first month since Dec. 2019 that dispensaries remitted less in gross revenue than they did in the previous month.
Despite the decline, August still marked the third-highest grossing month for medical marijuana sales in Norman. Dispensaries also remitted $278,000 in sales tax revenue, an increase of more than $50,000 over July.
However, Moore dispensaries experienced their best month yet for marijuana sales. According to OTC data, Moore dispensaries remitted $1.38 million in gross revenue in August, a significant increase from the $1.1 million dispensaries remitted in July.
As marijuana revenue declined from July to August, so did the number of dispensaries in Norman. According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, there are 59 registered dispensaries in Norman as of Oct. 6, marking a decrease from the 72 dispensaries that were registered in March. There were 63 registered dispensaries in Norman in August.
The decline in medical marijuana was also seen statewide. According to OTC data, state dispensaries remitted $12.02 million in gross revenue in August, a slight decline from the $12.3 million in July. State dispensaries remitted $6.6 million in sales tax in August.
Despite the record-high months that Norman and state dispensaries have experienced for much of this year, the August decline is not unexpected, according to OMMA Communications Manager Terri Watkins.
Watkins said it’s time for many dispensaries to renew their businesses licenses, and many have chosen not to renew it.
“We have not made definitive expectations,” Watkins said. “It’s a new industry, and there’s no way to determine or project what’s coming in the next few months.”
Lawrence Cagigal, Southwest territory sales manager for GreenGrowth CPAs in Oklahoma City, said he is not surprised by the decline.
GreenGrowth CPAs assists individuals and companies in legalized medical and recreational states across the country, and Cagigal said the company has advised people in Oklahoma to expect a decline in revenue and in the number of licensed dispensaries..
“We’ve been preaching to people for a while [that this] was going to happen,” Cagigal said. “The tax deadline has accelerated people who can’t afford their taxes, so they have to shut down. It’s already happening.”
Cagigal said he expected marijuana sales to spike at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, but was surprised that sales continued to increase through the summer.
“We assumed it would be like alcohol sales or any other spike, like when toilet paper sales spiked,” Cagigal said. “The good news is that it went longer than we anticipated. We thought it was going to be a sharp spike and then come back down. But it went up, it plateaued a bit and then it came back down. Some people thought it was going to sustain forever, but we never thought that.”
Cagigal said it may be hard for dispensaries to return to the record-high sales from earlier this year.
“I think we’ve peaked at our dispensary sales numbers,” Cagigal said. “In general, for the size of Norman, I don’t think it can support 59 dispensaries unless every single college student got their license.”