Julie Richardson moved to Colorado from Louisiana in 2015, specifically to get the quality of cannabis-derived medicines obtainable here — but which were unavailable or too expensive back home.
Now, Richardson, who suffered a spinal injury when she was 6 months old and who has gone through repeated reconstructive surgeries and a cancer battle, thinks she may need to move again.
Sales of all marijuana products in Colorado are down substantially — by $72 million over their highwater mark during the pandemic summer of 2020, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
But for medical marijuana, which makes up just a fraction of the Colorado market, the drop-off has been much more pronounced, down by $25 million or 58% over that period.
The pronounced decrease is forcing businesses involved with medical marijuana sales to make substantial cuts, and, for some, to ultimately close their doors.
“Most companies have gone through layoffs and some have gone through multiple rounds,” said Truman Bradley, spokesman for Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association for licensed cannabis businesses. “When you go through a second or third round, there’s no more fat to trim.”
Advocates say behind the numbers are individual patients struggling to obtain medical cannabis, which are now more difficult to obtain either because of rising costs or reduced availability, or new regulations implemented to comply with legislation.