In June of 2019, before the "Vapor Crisis" began, Vapor Pens represented between 15% and 30% of total adult use cannabis sales with California's market showing the largest market share of Vapor Pens.
All states had an increase in Vapor Pen market share from January to June of this year. The category had stronger growth than more traditional inhalable products such as Flower or Pre-rolls during this time period.
As shown below, Vapor Pen market share significantly decreased in all states starting the last week of August, when the first Vapor Pen illness cases were reported, then stabilized in CA, NV, and WA during the latter half of September.
Reports have stated most deaths were linked to illicitly obtained products. In fact, moving forward, we could see Vapor Pen sales increase if consumers in adult use states move their purchases from the black market and into licensed dispensaries where they can be confident they will be able to purchase fully regulated and tested products.
Undoubtedly, as the vapor pen illness story continues to unfold, and government agencies expand their investigations, public perception could have a deeper impact on the category.
At Headset, we remain watchful of upcoming regulatory changes, like the proposed ban on flavored vaping products in Washington State, which could have a significant impact on sales.
Furthermore, we find that while topline sales of adult use cannabis have declined slightly week over week, some categories continue to show growth. This could be due to consumers branching out and trying new product types in the wake of the negative media attention on vaping products. Particularly, in WA we see that Pre-rolls are up 8% and in California Edibles are up 9% in recent weeks.
Stay tuned for more data and analysis in the coming weeks.