Cannabis sales in states that allow for adult-use and medical marijuana in the Midwest saw sales go up in the fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts was the only New England state that saw growth of the states Grown In is tracking, while Rhode Island and Maine’s cannabis sales stalled.
Michigan rallied in the fourth quarter of 2021. It ended 2021 with more than $1.79 billion in total cannabis sales, with December medical and adult-use sales at $167.96 million – just missing the state’s all time high of $171.07 million in cannabis sales in July 2021.
“We’ve seen pretty steady growth,” said Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) Executive Director Andrew Brisbo in an interview with Grown In last week. “We do see the medical market starting to decline but that’s to be expected with legalization on the adult-use side and a lot of investment and consumers moving toward the adult-use market.”
Brisbo added that he thinks Michigan is reaching “a period of stabilization.”
“One thing worth noting, is that even though the second six months outpaced the first six months, over the course of 2021, we also saw retail prices in the medical market decline 33.6% and retail prices in the adult-use market decline 47%,” he said.
Illinois ended the fourth quarter in 2021 at an all time high of $173 million, with total annual sales at $1.77 billion.
In Ohio, sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 seem to slump, according to numbers from the state. In October, the state reached an all time high of $39 million in adult-use and medical cannabis sales. But the year ended in December 2021 at $29 million. The total annual cannabis sales for adult use and medical in 2021 was $374 million.
Ally Reaves, founder and president of Midwest CannaWomen, said Ohio cannabis sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 were great as medical cannabis operators expanded.
“Ohio’s product sales at the end of the fourth quarter was at $649.8 million in product sales, which is halfway to the goal of Ohio becoming a billion dollar state very, very soon,” Reaves said.
Reaves also said the state’s decision to deem cannabis businesses essential despite COVID-19 contributed to increased sales. She pointed to November 2021 patient numbers, which totaled over 390,000 recommendations and over 231,000 registered patients, according to the state.
There were also over 26,000 registered caregivers, according to the state.
“If you look at the surrounding states, Ohio has done extremely well under the strict rules and regulations here under the Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Commerce. With these new 73 licensed dispensaries coming into the state, which will make a total of 130, that should drop the prices,” she said, and make patients eager to participate in the program.
She said patients are now allowed to purchase nine ounces of flower and Level 1 cultivators are allowed to expand to 50,000 square-foot grows. She predicts that plant material sold will be doubled or even quadrupled by the end of next year.
“There are a lot of companies that are partnering up with other brands outside the state and bringing those brands inside the state under their brands,” she said. “That’s definitely helping the market as well.”
Sales in Missouri almost met Ohio’s December 2021 sales, earning $28.9 million and ending the year with over $209.75 million in sales. However, Missouri’s fast growing coterie of dispensaries rival Ohio’s 57 dispensaries.
As of January, there were 183 medical dispensaries, 45 cultivators, 61 manufacturers, and eight labs, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The counties with the most patients are Jackson (home to Kansas City) and St. Louis, each with more than 14,000 registered patients. As of December 2021, Missouri had 218,111 registered patient applications in total, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Massachusetts sales for adult-use and medical cannabis reached an all time high in the fourth quarter of 2021, ending December 2021 with $154 million in sales. The total sales for the state in 2021 was $1.38 billion.
In September 2021, the state’s marijuana establishments surpassed a milestone – $2 billion in cumulative sales.
Ture Turnbull, co-founder and co-CEO of LGBTQ-owned dispensary Tree House Craft Cannabis, said December sales were good even for a business that came online less than three months ago.
“It was the holiday season. Sales were high,” Turnbull said. “As a new guy on the block, we expect our January sales to exceed our December sales.”
Turnbull said the high sales numbers are a combination of people coming out of the illicit market and new products coming into the market.
“My mom probably hadn’t participated in the industry since the 1970s. When products were what you get and not regulated, not controlled,” Turnbull said. “There is an increase in total market share growing… That shows the runway of new customers, as well as watching customers that have been participating come into a more regulated, controlled space.”
Turnbull said approximately a quarter of the license plates in the dispensary’s parking lot are from New Hampshire. Tree House Craft Cannabis has locations in Dracut and Pepperell, both close to the New Hampshire border.
Maine’s adult-use program continued stagnating in the fourth quarter of 2021. The annual total for 2021 was $81.5 million.
Sales data are extracted from Metrc, and are “preliminary in nature, subject to further revision, and have not been audited,” the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy said in a press release in September 2021.
There are over 3,000 medical marijuana caregivers in Maine and over 5,000 caregiver employees and assistants, according to the state. Caregivers in Maine face the possibility of new regulations that could harm the small operations, according to previous Grown In reporting.
A registered caregiver in the state can sell an unlimited number of wholesale plants, including any marijuana products or concentrates. They can also transfer or accept young plants and seedlings from other caregivers and dispensaries. A caregiver can sell their products to qualifying medical patients, according to the statute.
Maine’s medical marijuana sales are not available because the state does not operate seed-to-sale tracking for that program, which includes caregiver sales. But that could change soon.
Rhode Island behaved similarly to Maine, but December 2021 sales were not ready by the time this article was published. Its 2021 sales, without December totals, were $80.8 million, close to Maine’s adult-use total. Maine has a population of 1.38 million, while Rhode Island has 1.09 million people, according to the U.S. Census.
In Rhode Island, there are three compassionate care centers which function as dispensaries, and five new medical licensees that were selected in October 2021. A sixth winner has yet to be determined, Grown In previously reported.
Rhode Island also has 68 approved cultivators. There are also three approved cultivator applicants that are not guaranteed to receive a license.
“In order to receive a license, each approved applicant must pass a final licensing inspection and meet all requirements under law within nine months of their application’s approval,” the Department of Business Regulation wrote.
Curaleaf, which has retail stores and cultivation sites in states that include Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, told Grown In they have seen an increase in wholesale interest in the Midwest and New England regions, “in addition to retail activity throughout 2021. We finished the year strong with several major acquisitions,” Curaleaf president Matt Darin said in an email.