You might think the big news in Midwest cannabis is that Illinois’ cannabis sales finally, decisively overtook Michigan’s as the Land of Lincoln sold $121 million of cannabis products in the month of December 2020, more than any legal amount ever sold in Michigan. But no, perhaps the biggest story is that little sliver at the bottom right of the chart, where Missouri turned in a tiny 2.4% of Illinois’ raging sales month.

Missouri’s numbers begin to get interesting when, instead of looking at absolute numbers, you consider it in context. Sure, after three months of medical cannabis sales, the state is selling about a million dollars less today than Illinois was at the same point in September 2016. By then, Illinois had 40 operating dispensaries and today, Missouri has 24 operating dispensaries.

So far it looks like everything’s on pace, right? Take a look at the number of approved medical patients in each state at the respective points in their program launches.

Three months into its medical cannabis program Missouri has over 94,000 people signed up as medical patients, adding about 6,000 more people a month since dispensaries opened. At this point in its program, Illinois only had 18,398 people signed up. With another 72 dispensary licenses available for operations in Missouri, it seems the state is positioned for explosive growth. 

In fact, Missouri released sales data for the first eight days of January that showed just over $1 million in sales for that period. Doing some back of the envelope math, Missouri’s on pace for 29% growth in January. But if more dispensaries open, and cultivators are able to get product out the door, we should be seeing a lot more growth than that.

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Editor Mike is an itinerate reporter, recovering political consultant, and strategy game devotee.