TRENTON – A dozen dispensaries sold more than $24 million in recreational marijuana to adults in the first month such purchases were legal, according to Cannabis Regulatory Commission data.

Legal adult-use sales began on April 21, with nearly $1.9 million in sales on the first day. But that opening-day surge wasn’t expected to be sustained – and really couldn’t, with over 12,000 transactions completed at the 12 dispensaries open to the general public that Thursday, averaging around $150 per customer.

Results from the first 31 days of sales show the number of customers settled to an average of around 54% of that debut-day spike. Average daily sales dropped each week until last one, and the amount spent per transaction has continually declined.

Jeff Brown, executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, said it wasn’t easy launching with 12 dispensaries for a state of 9.3 million but that it has gone about as smooth as could be hoped.

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“We do anticipate that this will ramp up particularly as new dispensaries are approved, new cultivators are approved,” Brown said.

A 13th dispensary started recreational sales this week, and five more will do so in the next few weeks.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers:

Total recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
Total recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
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Dispensaries reported $24,201,875 in recreational marijuana sales in the first 31 days since they went into effect, averaging a bit over $5 million a week.

The first bar on the chart above looks like the worst week – but actually was the busiest, as that reporting period consisted of only three days of sales, which started on a Thursday. The CRC reports weeks along the traditional calendar, running from Sunday to Saturday.

Average daily recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
Average daily recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
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This chart recasts the first one by dividing the numbers into a daily average. It helps visualize how big the early surge was … or how much things dropped off, depending on how you view the world.

Because the state had issued rough-estimate first-day sales numbers last month, it’s also possible to note that sales went from nearly $1.9 million the first day to an average of around $820,000 the next two days, then drifted down each of the weeks on average before climbing last week.

Daily sales averaged $780,706. That’s a rate of $285 million a year. Projections anticipate that the industry is going to be a lot bigger than that eventually, with cannabis data company BDSA recently forecasting $530 million in sales in New Jersey and 2022 and $2 billion a year by 2026.

Number of recreational marijuana transactions in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
Number of recreational marijuana transactions in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
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The CRC reported that there were 212,433 recreational marijuana transactions between April 21 and May 21, with the most active week being the most recent, May 15 to May 21.

Average daily number of recreational marijuana transactions in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
Average daily number of recreational marijuana transactions in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
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Same as with the sales numbers, this version of the chart adjusts the first column to reflect it was a shortened week. Opening week reflects the biggest foot traffic – though it’s not as big an outlier as it was on the sales chart. Transactions over the first month averaged 6,853 a day.

Average spending per transaction for recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
Average spending per transaction for recreational marijuana sales in the first month. (Townsquare Media NJ)
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Finally, this chart merges the two earlier data points into a single view of how much was being spent by the average customer – just under $114 per transaction. This is also the one chart that shows a continuous trend: less spending per visitor as the month unfolded.

The trend is even more pronounced if the abbreviated first week’s average is split between opening day (nearly $152) and the following two days (over $132, on average). From there it went from $120 to $116 to $104 to just under $102.50.

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