Hashish gross sales stall by the thousands and thousands in San Francisco as dispensary homeowners bemoan black market operations

Cannabis sales in San Francisco have failed to hit the $50 million mark for the quarter for the first time in five years, California tax officials said. 

The city recorded $46.7 million in taxable cannabis sales in the first three months of 2024. The figure represents a $5.6 million decrease from the last quarter and a $7.1 million decrease from the same period in 2023, the San Francisco Examiner reported

Customers maintain social distance while waiting to enter The Green Cross cannabis dispensary in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

The latest figures from the California Department of Tax and Free Administration show a 35% decline since its peak in mid-2021. Despite the sluggish sales, San Francisco users remain among the leaders in per-capita cannabis sales, bringing in $55 in sales per resident. San Diego made $134.1 million in sales for the first quarter, with $40.73 in sales per resident. Los Angeles came in at $295.3 million in sales with $30.05 per resident. 

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has often touted California as being the largest legal cannabis market in the world and has bragged about San Francisco’s Amsterdam-style cafes, but more and more dispensary owners say they are being driven out of business. 

Owners have complained for months that it’s been a challenge to draw in customers and say they can’t compete with black market operations. 

“We’re charging our customers way too much,” Nate Haas of Moe Greens Dispensary & Lounge told CBS News Bay Area. “As a dispensary, it’s tough for us to compete with the illicit market.” The industry has also been hit with market saturation and a severe post-pandemic drop in customers. 

“Our revenue has dropped 43% in the last 18 months,” Al Shawa, who owns Mission Cannabis Club on Mission Street near 21st Street, a mainstay in the neighborhood since 2010, told 

Shawa owns two other dispensaries that opened in 2023, one in the Marina District and another in the city’s Russian Hill area.


“There’s no money to be made,” he said. 

Neither store is doing well.

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