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Cannabis Operators Topped $3.8B in Delinquent Payments in 2023: Study

This amount equates to 1.6 months of legal U.S. cannabis retail revenues in 2023.

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Whitney Economics, a company specializing in cannabis and hemp business consulting, data, and economic research, has published its 2023 U.S. Cannabis Delinquent Payments Report for the U.S. Adult-use and Medical Cannabis Industry. In total, the total delinquent payments have exceeded $3.8 billion and without regulatory intervention, are expected to top $4.2 Billion in 2024.

In Q4 2023, Whitney Economics deployed a survey to ask cannabis operators and ancillary businesses about the impact of delinquent payments on their operations. The survey asked respondents for a broad set of inputs related to A/P and A/R issues. Respondents also had a chance to offer direct feedback. Additionally, Whitney Economics conducted direct interviews and triangulated/validated data against other sources, including regulators.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Total delinquent accounts receivables are approximately $3.8 billion
  • This amount equates to 1.6 months of legal ($28.8 billion) U.S. cannabis retail revenues in 2023
  • Cannabis cultivation is the hardest-hit sector in the U.S. supply chain; retail is the least-impacted
  • Impacts are widespread throughout the industry, but are impacting smaller and minority operators the most
  • 44% of the respondents indicated that delinquent receivables were impacting their ability to service their debt while 34% indicated that is impacting their ability to pay their taxes
  • 57.3% of survey respondents indicated that delinquent accounts receivables have a greater impact on their cannabis business than federal tax code 280E

Note: These numbers do not include payments related to industrial hemp.

Data indicate that 2023 was a tough year for many cannabis operators in the U.S. In fact, overall legal cannabis revenues declined in 10 states in 2023. With declining revenues and compressed margins cash is king right now.

A copy of the delinquency report can be downloaded at

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