Medical pot sales topped $23 million in January as patient count eclipsed 100K
The strong showing came as hordes of recreational pot users flocked to dispensaries for their first taste of legal weed.
Illinois pot shops sold over $23 million worth of medical weed in January as the state’s patient count jumped above 100,000 for the first time since the program was launched in 2014.
The strong showing came as hordes of recreational pot users flocked to dispensaries for their first taste of legal weed. Despite a pervasive supply shortage that took hold in the wake of recreational legalization, 55 licensed dispensaries made $62.6 million in total sales last month, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. That included nearly $40 million in recreational weed sales.
Of the $23.4 million in medical pot sales in January, $9.8 million was spent on dried cannabis flower, which has remained in short supply across the state. Those totals were notably lower than the final quarter of 2019, when average monthly flower sales of $12.4 million accounted for nearly half of the $26.2 million in average total sales.
And while the patient count jumped to 102,519, the state’s medical cannabis market will eventually shrink as the recreational program becomes more reliable, said Andy Seeger, an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a Loop-based cannabis research firm.
“When fully legalized, adult-use markets open, we typically see former patients move into typical retail dispensaries for some, if not all, sales as they find the hurdles of the medical program to be too onerous,” said Seeger.
Seeger noted that while medical card holders can avoid lines and taxes at dispensaries, prospective patients will still have to pay doctors for certification as well as a $100 application fee that he described as way to discourage “tax dodging.”
Medical pot transactions have wound up accounting for only 5% to 10% of total sales in other states that have fully legalized the drug, he noted.