Record pot sales continue with $61M in July; total for 2020 eclipses $300M

July sales of recreational weed shattered the June record by nearly 30 percent.

SHARE Record pot sales continue with $61M in July; total for 2020 eclipses $300M
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A 55-year-old man from River North makes the second purchase at Cresco Labs’ seventh Sunnyside dispensary.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Illinois dispensaries sold a record $61 million in recreational pot products in July, eclipsing the previous benchmark set in June by more than $13 million.

In the first seven months since recreational cannabis was legalized, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation have reported over $300 million in total sales.

Illinois residents bought up $44.7 million of the $60.9 million worth of pot products sold last month, according to the IDFPR. All told, nearly 1.3 million products were sold throughout the state.

July’s figures trump the previous sales records set a month earlier, when dispensaries sold 994,545 individual items totaling $47.6 million.

Monthly recreational cannabis sales totals.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Illinoisans have purchased most of the state’s recreational weed, with monthly sales figures increasing by 46% since January. During that same stretch, sales to out-of-state residents have jumped from $8.6 million to $16.2 million in July, amounting to a nearly 87% increase.

While the initial recreational sales were made by a few dozen medical dispensaries that converted into dual-use stores when the legalization law went into effect, new recreational stores have since started cropping up. Though pot stores were deemed essential in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the expansion of the new market has been stymied by a pervasive supply shortage that has required some dispensaries to limit the amount of dried cannabis flower customers can purchase.

Andy Seeger, a cannabis consultant and blogger, noted that Illinois growers have invested in expanding their cultivation facilities to ramp up production.

“This is probably the realization of that coming to market,” said Seeger. “So building out those grow houses, building out those facilities, getting seeds in the ground and then all of the sudden we see that harvest come to market like we did a couple months ago in May.”

Cresco Labs, a River North-based company that grows and sells weed in Illinois and other states, is among the operators that have recently opened new locations and expanded their growing capabilities. Flower is available for purchase for recreational customers, he said.

“In our case, we have all three of our cultivation facilities producing high quality [and] high volume yields, which is resulting in more inventory and bigger basket sizes at the retail level,” said Cresco spokesman Jason Erkes.

Despite the industry’s rapid growth, Seeger warned that the market is still “very restrictive with very few players.” As the existing players have been able to cash in on the record sales, he noted that new licenses to grow, sell, transport and infuse cannabis products have been delayed indefinitely in the wake of the pandemic.

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