Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Approach $40 Million in January

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Illinois dispensaries sold nearly $40 million worth of legal cannabis during the first month of recreational sales, the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced Monday.

According to the IDFPR, which oversees cannabis dispensary licensing, adult-use sales topped $39.2 million in January even as many pot shops dealt with marijuana shortages that are expected to continue for months.

In a press release, Toi Hutchinson, a senior advisor for cannabis control to Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J.B.” Prtizker, called the rollout of recreational sales “successful” and said it “represents new opportunities for entrepreneurs and the very communities that have historically been harmed by the failed war on drugs.”

“The administration is dedicated to providing multiple points of entry into this new industry, from dispensary owners to transporters, to ensure legalization is equitable and accessible for all Illinoisans,” she said.

More than 972,000 items were sold during the 31-day period, the majority going to in-state residents. Illinois consumers spent $30.6 million on cannabis products throughout January, while out-of-state patrons shelled out more than $8.6 million.

It’s unclear how much business was potentially lost as a result of product shortages that forced some dispensaries to temporarily close their doors and others to limit hours of operation.

Illinois dispensaries processed more than 77,000 transactions and hauled in more than $3.1 million on the first day of legal recreational sales, according to the IDFPR. And during the first five days of 2020, sales nearly surpassed $11 million (more than $2 million per day).

However, the pace of sales slowed as the month wore on. The state’s 37-licensed dispensaries sold more than $19 million worth of cannabis through the first 12 days, but average daily sales fell to about $1.2 million. Over the next 19 days, dispensaries sold about half as much product as they did during the first five days of legal sales.

“There’s a lot more consumer demand that’s not being met just because of those supply shortages,” Bethany Gomez, the managing director of cannabis research at Brightfield Group told the Associated Press.

By comparison, year-to-date sales through February 3 in Massachusetts totaled $47.2 million, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

Elsewhere, cannabis sales in California -- the largest market in the U.S. -- surpassed $251 million in December, the most recent month for which data was available from cannabis research firm BDS Analytics.

Meanwhile, recreational cannabis sales in Colorado, the country’s second largest market, were roughly $120 million in December, according to the firm. And in Oregon, adult-use consumers spent about $68 million on marijuana during the final month of 2019.

BDS Analytics estimates that marijuana sales in Illinois will grow at a 41% compound annual rate through 2024. Also by 2024, Illinois is predicted to become the fifth largest cannabis market in the U.S.

Illinois was the second Midwestern state to legalize cannabis for adult-use. Michigan began recreational sales on December 1, but only brought in about $6.5 million during the first month, according to MLive.com.

Recreational cannabis sales are legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and the District of Columbia. 33 states have legalized medical cannabis sales and 47 states have reformed cannabis laws.

Dozens of states are also considering updates to their cannabis laws in 2020.


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