April 20th is a stoner holiday unlike any other, and in states with newer programs, sales reflected that enthusiasm from patients and the public. But other states that have been in the game for longer only saw nominal changes in retail sales since March, and one actually decreased year-over-year.
Massachusetts’ April medical and adult use retail sales in 2022 was $146,749,053 – 9% higher than April 2021, but just 1% higher than the previous month. April retail sales failed to break the state’s all-time high of $154,014,548 in December 2021.
Despite the slower sales jump overall, 4/20 was still a boon for Massachusetts dispensaries, which made $8,150,442 in retail sales for both medical and adult use programs on April 20 – up 38% compared to 2021.
One week ago, the Cannabis Control Commission announced the state’s adult-use Marijuana Establishments had surpassed $3 billion in gross sales since November 2018.
“These sales figures illustrate the steady growth Massachusetts residents expected when they voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2016, and the Commission was appointed in 2017,” said CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins. “[O]ur work to ensure equity in the industry and the agency remains front and center.”
Sieh Samura, a social equity license holder who co-founded Yamba Market, the first adult use store in Cambridge which opened its doors April 12 said though retail sales are up in Massachusetts, so are the number of retailers. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Competition is basically good. More and more open markets are better; the more diversity in the market offers more options for consumers,” he said.
About what’s in store for Massachusetts for the next months, Samura said: “Sales will continue to go up for sure. There's still a huge number of people who haven't really adopted visiting licensed stores regularly. They still shop on the unlicensed market. Those people are regularly coming over to the licensed side, without a doubt. More and more people are finding it convenient to go to licensed dispensaries. The prices are coming down. That's one of the things that was stopping some people from coming to visit licensed dispensaries. That reality is changing. There are more dispensaries available closer to people. They're more readily available. That's happening.”
In Maine, adult use retail sales reached an all time high of $11,119,363 in April – up 5% compared to the previous month. The year over year increase was 155%.
There were 170,300 transactions in the month of April, according to the state. Meanwhile, the average price per gram of bud or flower was down to $10 for April.
Eben Sumner, who runs a licensed caregiver business, a manufacturing operation, and owns a hemp company in Maine and founder of Maine Growers Alliance, said, through email, that his sales were status quo for April 20th, as his clientele are medical clientele who “aren't the ‘4:20 party’ type.“
“The market is still growing and hasn't reached its peak saturation. More municipalities are slowly creating legislation to allow for storefronts and cultivation,” Sumner said, adding that he’s keeping an eye on legislation that would subsidize municipalities that allow adult use cannabis.
“The adult use market will continue to grow at the pace of municipality acceptance. We will see more towns come on line in the next couple of years until each town makes a decision to allow or prohibit,” said Sumner. “It is a slow process, especially with adult use. The majority of municipalities seem to be okay with cannabis on paper, but have a ‘not in my backyard’ mentality. This is how it has played out with the medical program as well.”
For May, he said he expects there might have been a slight drop in retail sales, but that the summer months will likely bring a rebound.
“Considering it is nearing the tourism months, I'm sure we will see both markets increase,” said Sumner. “That is to say, if the rising inflation rates and Covid aren't going to put a damper on people being able to afford to travel this summer.”
Rhode Island, which is on the precipice of legalizing adult use cannabis, saw a 6% increase in April from the previous month, but a 22% decrease year-over-year.
In Illinois, year over year cannabis retail sales for both medical and adult use programs were up 9% in April. There was $163,556,837 of cannabis sold in April – slightly higher than in March but less than 1%. Since January 2022, there has been an 11% increase in retail sales.
Gabe Mendoza,executive vice president of retail operations at Mission Dispensaries, said Illinois’ April numbers are not too surprising.
“While 4/20 certainly brings in an outsized amount of revenue, it’s only one day – and with only 30 days in April it’s going to be an uphill battle to try and have it be a record setting month. When you look at December you’re looking at a 31 day month, which includes Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. That has all the makings of a good month,” Mendoza said.
“Frankly, I’m happy that there was an improvement from March to April. What the real underlying issue, to me at least, is the egregiously high taxes that are levied upon Illinois customers. There is a massive untapped market that will never shop at a dispensary because the taxes are too high. What’s needed is a reevaluation of the current tax laws, without that you’ll eventually see the revenue numbers plateau,” he added.
Michigan’s cannabis retail sales reached an all time high of $194,969,409 in April – up 27% compared to March. Sales year over year were up 27%.
Regulated cannabis retailers in Missouri sold over $36,760,000 in products in April – a 316% increase from April 2021, and a 20% increase since March.
In Ohio, April cannabis medical retail sales were $48,080,620 – a 64% increase year over year with a 29% increase since March.
New Jersey had its first retail sales on April 21, 2022. Adult use retail sales were $9,053,837.67 for those nine days in April, and a gross total of $24,201,875 as of May 21. The state sold $24,201,875 in cannabis in 212,433 transactions in its first 30 days of adult use sales, state officials announced in the monthly Cannabis Regulatory Commission meeting this week.
“While this $24 million number sounds big, there is still a tremendous opportunity for people to come into this market and be successful,” executive director Jeff Brown said.