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Slight growth in D.C. patient registrations in March overshadowed by continued decline in medical cannabis sales

D.C.’s medical cannabis market sees minor growth despite lower sales

A slight glimmer of hope for The District of Columbia’s medical cannabis market came in the form of a slight uptick in patient registrations in the program, according to new data

Since Maryland’s adult use market launched last July, D.C. has seen an overall decline in cannabis sales. Medical patients registered to shop at the city’s medical dispensaries has actually steadily increased in the last year, but sales have not reflected this rise and the number of actual patients shopping has fluctuated. 

Total registered patients rose by just 200 in March while patients served rose for the first time in three months by almost 700. D.C.’s medical program continues to struggle. Despite March marking the highest month in sales in 2024, this month’s total medical market revenue was over $1.5 million short of March 2023. 

In fact, 2024 March sales were lower than the last three years, and cultivation and manufacturing sales in March were also lower than the previous three years. The program reached all-time highs last year in overall sales in April and March, making this year’s overall drop in profit even more stark. 

Almost all categories of product in the program, from flower to vapes, saw a slight increase in sales over February, but over all revenue rose by less than $50,000. Sales of raw flower were still below 400 lbs last month.  

Maryland adult use sales hit an all-time high in March of $64 million, according to the Maryland Cannabis Administration, but D.C.’s most recent quarter in 2024 showed more than a 21% of a decrease from the same time period in 2023. 

The Virginia governor’s refusal to pass a bill that would have allowed the adult-use cannabis market to launch in his state will help D.C. retain some patients, but the competition from an adult use market in Maryland continues to be steep.

March 2024 Highlights

  • Straight cannabis bud sales (369 lbs) rose for the first time in three months.
  • Seven inspections were conducted across dispensaries and cultivation centers with no violations found.
  • The most recent quarter in 2024 was a little over 21% of a decrease in total sales from the same time period in 2023. 
  • The top state for temporary patient registrations was Virginia followed by Maryland than North Carolina. 
  • 1,920  pounds of cannabis waste was destroyed in March. 
  • Over 1,700 patient registrations are set to expire by the end of June.  

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