The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently published adult-use sales figures for April, providing one of the first glimpses of how legal cannabis sales are faring in a full month under the specter of COVID-19. In an May 4 press release, IDFPR announced that adult-use cannabis retailers in the state generated over $37.2 million in gross revenue in April. April’s sales are up 3.6% from March’s $35.9 million. The month-over-month uptick outpaced the 3.2% rise in sales from February to March.
Unsurprisingly, out-of-state customers generated a smaller proportion of sales in April compared to March. However, the proportion of sales to those from outside Illinois remained robust even as state and local governments had stay-at-home orders in place. According to IDFPR, residents from states other than Illinois were responsible for 20% of sales in April, or over $7.5 million of the total. In March, out-of-state shoppers accounted for 25% of the total revenue tallied, down from 36% in February. It is almost certainly the case that fewer individuals were engaging in interstate travel in April due to concerns about the pandemic, leading to fewer out-of-state visitors to Illinois and a lower proportion of total sales from that demographic.
Average daily adult-use sales increased month-over-month for the first time since that sector of the market opened in Illinois. Daily sales figures for the trailing three months are shown in the table below.
April’s average daily sales figures remain below January’s, the month that Illinois’ adult-use market opened, when customers spent over $1.26 million daily, on average. January’s sales were inflated due to consumer enthusiasm over the new market, while tight supply has led to sales trending downward until April. Rising sales suggest that supply is loosening and that consumers continue to patronize cannabis retailers during the pandemic, with such stores having remained open as essential businesses in the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which oversees the state’s medical cannabis program, also recently issued an update on patient numbers and sales figures for April. Retail and cultivator revenues continued to climb in April, even after both saw substantial increases in March. The average retail price for flower for registered patients declined for the second straight month, along with wholesale prices, suggesting that cultivators continue to expand their operations and supply is loosening. Yet, rates for medical flower remained higher than the overall state Spot in April.
According to IDPH data, retail sales of medical cannabis in April totaled over $31.1 million, up by 3.8% compared to March’s revenues of just under $30 million. April’s retail sales of medical cannabis represent a new record high for Illinois’ system, topping the previous record established the month prior. April’s sales are also notable for increasing even after March’s saw an over 20% jump from February. April’s 2020’s retail revenues are up by 67.9% year-over-year, compared to over $18.5 million in sales recorded in the same month in 2019. The rate of annual increase in monthly sales in April is slightly smaller than that observed in March.
Of April’s sales total, 46.5% – or almost $14.5 million – went to purchase flower, a proportion comparable to the month prior, when the percentage was 46%. April is the third straight month that flower’s proportion of total sales has increased, after it contracted consistently for several months prior to February 2020.
As of the end of April, IDPH had approved 113,458 patient applications since the opening of the state’s registry in September 2014, up by over 4,700 patients from a month prior, a larger than usual increase. 55 dispensaries served 56,541 unique patients in April, down by almost 1,800 unique patients compared to the previous month. Fewer patients making purchases and rising sales indicates that each patient is buying more, on average. Similar trends have been reported out of other markets as patients and consumers bulk buy rather than make multiple trips due to the pandemic.
Each patient purchased, on average, 17.3 grams of flower in April, up from 15.9 grams in March. The average retail price of a gram of flower in Illinois’ medical market in April was $14.80, down from $14.91 in March. April is the second consecutive month to see the average retail price for flower in the medical market decline, after five straight months of increases before that. Still, flower prices for patients remain quite elevated compared to the most recent low point of $11.70 per gram in September 2019.
On the wholesale side of the market, Illinois cultivation centers recorded over $27.4 million in revenues in April, up by 0.5% from over $27.3 million in supply side sales documented in March. April’s cultivation center sales also represent a new record high for Illinois’ market, exceeding the previous peak established the month before. Similar to retail sales, April’s modest increase in wholesale sales is notable as it follows an over 30% rise the month before.