Two smaller states in both the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions saw cannabis retail sales reach an all time high, and after a long plateau, Illinois' adult use sales finally turned bullish in March. But not all states were winners: Rhode Island’s sporadic sales experienced a 39% drop since February.
In Illinois, both adult use and medical retail sales were up, but adult use sales were up 15% from February to March, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Total adult use sales for March were over $130,960,000.
Some of the increase in retail sales can be attributed to cultivators lowering their prices across the board, said Abigail Watkins, the Marketing and Sales Director for Dispensary 33, a medical and adult use retailer in Illinois.
“We've seen price changes from like five to $10, depending on what the product is. Illinois is a heavily taxed state and any decrease in costs helps make purchasing cannabis more accessible. I'm sure that that has helped customers,” Watkins said.
It could also be because the mask mandate was lifted late-February, she said, encouraging customers to venture out into retailers. Watkins expats the upward trend to continue through the summer as more and more people begin traveling.
There were over $31 million in medical sales in Illinois, with $14.5 million in dry flower sales and $17 million in concentrates and infused products.
So far in 2022, there have been $89.8 million in medical cannabis sales in Illinois. Medical retailers saw 67,351 patients, according to the state.
In Michigan, adult use cannabis sales were down nearly 6% from February to March but medical sales were up 23%. The number of medical patients 230,482, down 5% since October 2021.
Missouri saw its all time high of $30,710,000 in medical retail sales – a 15% increase from February to March.
Ohio’s medical program saw a small 4% increase from February to March. The number of active medical patients in the state was also up to nearly 5% since October 2021, to 137,870 patients.
New England Markets
Maine reached an all time high of $10.5 million in March – a 16% increase from February.
Matthew Hawes, vice president of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association and CEO of Novel Beverage, was not surprised by the state’s bullish run.
“In fact, we expected sales in the adult use market to be stronger than they were, initially. We were all still very happy that we had a functioning adult use market, but it's not at all surprising to see it expand and grow,” Hawes said. “That's largely because there's a lot more suppliers in the market now. So the prices have come down a bit and it's becoming a little bit more in line with the consumer expectation.”
Hawes said, “That is $10 million worth of cannabis that was not sold in the unregulated market, where untracked, untested, untaxed cannabis is sold, not necessarily people checking IDs,” he said. “Now those sales are occurring in safe and controlled and regulated environments. And I think that's a really positive thing for our communities… We'll continue to work with industry people to continue to reduce some of the barriers and some of the burdens that we face in the regulated market to make us more competitive with the unregulated market so we can continue to grow.”
Matt Bayliss, owner of Maine cultivation facility Gele, said there’s an excess of supply in relation to demand, leading to the high retail sales.
“There's actually a big supply glut up here right now. People were not just anticipating but banking on the market to turn around, so definitely encouraging numbers,” he said.
He also expects retail sales numbers for Maine’s adult use market to continue to trend upwards, especially after the 4/20 holiday.
“Our numbers won't dip again until the leaves fall until October, November. I expect another all time high for this month, May, June, July, and August. There will be a little drop back in August and September,” he said. “We have a bifurcated market by tourist season. We had 10 million visitors six months out of the year. So that's all starting to happen now.”
Massachusetts was excluded from the dataset because its publicly available numbers for certain months were changed and Grown In could not confirm if other previous values had also changed.
Rhode Island’s sales numbers were sporadic. Medical sales were $3 million in January; $9.6 million in February; and $5.8 million in March, dropping 39% since the previous month.
New Jersey's Launch
Grown In expects to begin reporting adult use sales data from New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission – the first Mid-Atlantic state to do so – next month.
For its first day of adult use sales, Thursday, April 21, New Jersey regulators reported the state’s 12 participating dispensaries sold cannabis and cannabis products to 12,438 recreational cannabis customers for a total gross sale of nearly $1.9 million.