Rise in Illinois Marijuana Demand Continues to Elevate Wholesale Prices Photo by Cambridge Jenkins IV on Unsplash
September 22, 2020

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 August. Retail and cultivator sales subsided after both reached new record highs in July. However, the state’s Spot Index and the price for flower designated as medical both rose significantly in August. This is almost certainly due to expanding demand in the adult-use sector, as the same cultivators are producing for both segments of Illinois’ market. Dispensaries are required to keep a certain amount of product on hand for sales to patients only, but other inventory can be sold to general consumers, tightening overall supply.

IDPH data shows retail sales of medical cannabis in August totaled over $31.5 million, down by 5.1% compared to July’s record revenues of over $33.2 million. August 2020’s retail revenues are up by 31.8% year-over-year, compared to over $23.9 million in sales recorded in the same month in 2019.

Of August’s sales total, 48% – or over $15.1 million – went to purchase flower, a proportion up from the month prior, when the percentage was 46.7%. Flower’s proportion of total medical cannabis sales in Illinois has generally trended upward to this point in 2020.

As of the end of August, IDPH had approved 129,582 patient applications since the opening of the state’s registry in September 2014, up by over 4,200 patients from a month prior. 55 dispensaries served 63,168 unique patients in August, up by over 350 unique patients compared to the previous month.

Each patient purchased, on average, 17.4 grams of flower in August, down from 17.7 grams in July. The average retail price of a gram of flower in Illinois’ medical market in August was $13.75, down from $13.96 in July. August marks a return to declining retail flower prices for patients after an uptick in July disrupted a four-month streak of falling prices. Still, flower prices for patients remain quite elevated compared to the most recent low point, which was $11.70 per gram nearly a year ago in September 2019.

On the wholesale side of the market, Illinois cultivation centers recorded over $27.6 million in revenue in August, down by 12.7% from over $31.6 million in supply side sales documented in July.

Average assessed prices for flower designated as medical by our Price Contributor Network in Illinois were up 15.3% from July to August. The state’s monthly average Spot Index also rose by 12.7% in the same span.