Monday was big for California’s cannabis industry, with shops reporting tens of thousands of dollars in sales on the first day they could legally offer recreational marijuana.
But we will likely never know just how big the opening day of California’s cannabis market was. And it will be months before we have any official data on the size of the state’s marijuana industry.
The Board of Equalization now tracks sales and tax revenue for the marijuana industry. But the agency doesn’t collect daily sales data, spokesman Paul Cambra said Tuesday.
“Cannabis taxes are reported quarterly,” he said. “The first returns are due April 30, and we generally have our reports for the quarter complete by the 10th of the following month.
“So by May 10, we will have total sales and tax revenue numbers for first quarter 2018.”
Individual shops for the most part said they were happy with how the start of sales went.
The shop 420 Central in Santa Ana had 600 customers walk through the door and did some $54,000 in sales Monday, according to co-owner Robert Taft.
“Preroll joints, flower and vape pens were the big sellers,” Taft said.
Harborside dispensary in Oakland, led by longtime legalization advocate Steve DeAngelo, had predicted that they’d do $150,000 in sales Monday.
The shop didn’t release final sales numbers. But spokeswoman Kirsten Merit said they saw more than 2,000 customers on Monday between their Oakland and San Jose locations.
Sales were up 166 percent over the same time last year at the Oakland location, she said. And sales were up 171 percent in San Jose.
MedMen OC in Santa Ana saw four times more traffic than a normal day, spokesman Daniel Yi said. Their average sale Monday was a little more than $90.
Caliva in San Jose had five times the amount of customers and revenue than what they see on a typical day, spokeswoman Lindsey Mee said. And 75 percent of the customers who came through their door Monday were new to the shop.
West Coast Cannabis Club in Cathedral City doesn’t share sales figures, CEO Ken Churchill said. But he said they welcomed around 500 customers throughout the day.
They sold thousands of preroll joints, which were priced at just $1 each. But flower was by far the most popular, Churchill said, accounting for around 60 percent of sales. Vape cartridges were about 20 percent of sales.
Cannabis financial news site Green Market Report projects California will sell more than $15 billion in cannabis this first year, bringing in more than $2 billion in state tax revenue.
Staff at the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state agency charged with regulating marijuana shops, hadn’t heard much feedback Monday about the start of sales, spokesman Alex Traverso.
“I’m thinking that’s likely a good thing, as hopefully businesses are out there operating with no issues,” he said.
There don’t seem to be any reports of crime at shops Monday, for example. Or of stores selling out and having to turn people away, as happened a short time after Nevada launched legal marijuana sales over the summer.
Many California shops stocked up on products in anticipation of the big day. And they had extra incentive to do so before the end of 2017, since any products purchased Jan. 1 or after must come from licensed vendors and must comply with new state regulations for testing, labeling, THC limits and more.
The state had issued temporary licenses to more than 800 businesses as of Tuesday afternoon, including more than 200 cultivators and dozens of distributors.
The test of whether there are enough licensed vendors to sustain the supply chain will come as stores start to deplete their backlogs of inventory — which may come quickly if sales stay strong.
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