The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) recently released sales and production data for May 2020, a month in which the state began reopening after being under a statewide stay-at-home order throughout April. Under Oregon’s reopening plan, individual counties had to receive permission from the state to begin doing so. Numerous counties received such approval around mid-May. Notably, though, Multnomah County, in which the city of Portland is located, remained under a stay-at-home order for the entirety of May. Of course, cannabis retailers have been considered essential businesses in Oregon and remained open during statewide and local lockdowns.
Sales jumped again in May. While all product categories saw increases in sales revenue and volume, demand for flower has spiked since February. Revenue from sales of flower in May was up by 55% compared to monthly flower sales in February. While unsold inventory figures remain robust, wholesale flower prices persisted in an upward trend that commenced in April.
The most recent OLCC data shows that total retail sales spiked to over $103 million in May, up by roughly 15% from over $89.7 million the month prior. May’s sales represent a new record high for Oregon’s licensed cannabis market for the third month in a row. While retail revenues typically increase month-over-month from April to May, the magnitude of the spike documented this year is significantly larger than in prior years.
Combined with the uncharacteristic rise in sales that occurred in April, the jump in revenue in May continues to indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying conditions have resulted in a discernible increase in demand in Oregon. The state’s market was already growing at a robust pace prior to the coronavirus gripping the U.S. in March, with a 30% year-over-year rise in sales recorded in February. May 2020’s sales are up by 60% year-over-year.
In May, sales revenue generated by adult-use consumers rose to over $91.5 million, up from just over $81 million in April. Meanwhile, sales to patients also increased from April to May, from almost $8.7 million to over $11.5 million.
Month-over-month changes in retail sales revenue and volume for the OLCC’s product categories are as follows: Revenue from sales of “usable marijuana” (the OLCC’s term for flower, trim, and pre-rolls) rose from over $52.2 million in April to over $60.8 million in May. Sales volume of usable marijuana expanded to almost 27,000 pounds in May, from almost 24,000 pounds in April.
Concentrates and extracts generated over $25 million in retail revenue in May, up from over $22.4 million in April. The number of units of concentrates and extracts sold in May rose to almost 1.3 million, from a bit over 1.2 million the month before.
Finally, sales revenue from edibles and tinctures was back on the rise in May, increasing to over $9.6 million, from almost $8.7 million in April. The number of units of edibles and tinctures sold to consumers and patients also increased, from almost 900,000 in April to around 990,000 in May.
Monthly harvest figures were on the rise as well, from roughly 165,000 pounds of wet weight in April to around 200,000 pounds in May.
As of June 2, almost 775,000 pounds of unsold “usable marijuana” was logged in the state’s CTS, down from a bit over 850,000 pounds recorded as unsold in early May. OLCC data shows that statewide unsold inventories of concentrates and extracts held fairly steady at roughly 35,000 pounds; that for edibles and tinctures rose from a little over 250,000 pounds to approach 275,000 pounds.
As cannabis demand in Oregon soars to unprecedented levels for the state, market participants are attributing the rising sales to a variety of factors. These include: people who are working from home or unemployed feeling more comfortable consuming without fear of being fired; consumers seeking to alleviate stress and anxiety; general ease of access due to allowances for online ordering, curbside pickup, and consumers increasingly using delivery; and still-low retail price points. Additionally, some retailers remarked that they are seeing a good number of new customers, who are turning into regular purchasers.