Four months and change into the era of legal recreational weed in Illinois, it’s difficult to gauge consumer consumption patterns. 

In January, the celebration of the new law and novelty of buying cannabis in a dispensary without a medical card resulted in long lines, sold out inventory, and nearly $40 million in sales. February dipped a bit, but then in March stoners stocked up as society shut down. 

Analysts didn’t know what to expect for April, which nationally had been historically strong due to consumption celebrations associated with the unofficial 4/20 holiday. With $37.3 million in April sales, the arrow for the industry in Illinois and beyond remains decidedly up. 

“The overall market is still restricted by supply even as new January 1 plants come to market,” explained Andy Seeger, an analyst with Chicago-based cannabis market research firm The Brightfield Group.

Well ahead of the social and economic disruptions that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois-based cannabis cultivators were not expecting to be at full supply until at least mid-year. While it remains to be seen how long supply chains may be delayed, what sales figures and anecdotal data across the industry show is that there is not enough weed on the shelves for Illinois consumers to buy. It’s reasonable, then, to project sales to increase considerably as more product becomes available and as society (eventually) returns to some degree of normalcy.   

Seeger noted that per day and per transaction sales “continue to climb”, accelerating slightly to 3.8 percent month to month. In aggregate, April per day state-wide sales were “in line” with the $1.2 million average. 

With more people staying at home, he said, out of state sales were down. One potential cloud on the horizon is the delay of 75 additional dispensary licenses. However, industry observers queried by Grown In maintain that once supply chains are fully operational, sales figures will grow regardless of the number of dispensaries in the state.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.