Cannabis sales increased across WA during the pandemic. Here’s where sales soared

For many people, the pandemic lockdowns increased feelings of boredom, anxiety and loneliness. So it’s hardly a surprise that marijuana use increased, just as alcohol consumption did.

But you might be surprised at just how much more cannabis Washingtonians are using now than they were before the pandemic.

Data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board shows sales increased statewide by $450 million, or about 43%, from the 2019 to 2021 fiscal years. The total retail sales in 2021 were nearly $1.5 billion.

Cannabis sales also generated more than $550 million in excise taxes for the state, most of which will be spent on public health programs, as prescribed by Washington’s 2012 marijuana legalization measure.

Fiscal year 2019 covers the period from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, and fiscal year 2021 covers the period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

Of Washington’s 39 counties, all but Garfield and Franklin counties have at least one cannabis retailer. In all of these 37 counties, sales increased by percentages in the double digits from the 2019 to 2021 fiscal years. Still, there was a wide range in the amount that sales increased from county to county.

The sales data suggests that cannabis use increased the most in more rural parts of the state during the pandemic, particularly in Eastern Washington. The biggest jump in sales was in Lincoln County, just west of Spokane County, where sales more than doubled by around $800,000 from 2019 to nearly $1.4 million in 2021. [Read More @ The Seattle Times]

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