With Rising Adult-Use Marijuana Prices, Registered Medical Marijuana Patient Count in Illinois Jumps Up in September
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which oversees the state’s medical cannabis program, recently issued an update on patient numbers and sales figures for September. Retail sales declined for the second straight month, but cultivator sales grew, with some of that product ultimately sold to adult-use consumers. However, the state’s Spot Index declined in September, while the wholesale price for flower designated as medical rose. There was also a significant increase in the number of new patient registrations in September, but it did not result in a rise in the number of patients that actually purchased from a dispensary that month.
Along with September’s adult-use sales, total retail cannabis revenues in Illinois reached over $99 million, another new record for the state’s young market and up 3.7% from over $95.5 million in combined adult-use and medical cannabis sales recorded in August.
IDPH data shows retail sales of medical cannabis in September totaled over $31.4 million, down by 0.3% compared to August’s revenues of over $31.5 million. September 2020’s retail revenues are up by 39.6% year-over-year, compared to over $22.5 million in sales recorded in the same month in 2019.
Of September’s sales total, 48.3% – or almost $15.2 million – went to purchase flower, a proportion comparable to the month prior, when the percentage was 48%. Flower’s proportion of total medical cannabis sales in Illinois has generally trended upward in 2020.
As of the end of August, IDPH had approved 142,253 patient applications since the opening of the state’s registry in September 2014, up by over 12,600 patients from a month prior. This is an uncharacteristically large increase for Illinois’ medical cannabis system, which has in recent months seen about a third to a quarter of that amount of new patients registered monthly. 55 dispensaries served 63,890 unique patients in August, up by over 700 unique patients compared to the previous month. Interestingly, the big jump in new registered patients did not translate into a comparable increase in those that actually purchased from a medical dispensary.
Each patient purchased, on average, 15.8 grams of flower in September, down sharply from 17.4 grams in August. The average retail price of a gram of flower in Illinois’ medical market in September was $15.06, up sharply from $13.75 in August. Retail flower prices for patients have fluctuated up and down in the past three months, but not to the degree seen in September. The large jump suggests that supplies are continuing to be strained by strong demand in both sectors of the state’s legal cannabis market.
On the wholesale side of the market, Illinois cultivation centers recorded over $30.5 million in revenue in September, up by 10.5% from over $27.6 million in supply side sales documented in August.