Recreational cannabis sales in Illinois climb to $110 million during Q1 2020

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The first quarter of 2020 turned out to be a lucrative time for the newly-launched recreational cannabis industry in Illinois. State-published data has confirmed that $110 million was recorded in sales revenue for Q1 2020; merging revenue results from January, February and March.

Legal cannabis products have been flying off the shelves since the start of this year. January 1 marked a pivotal moment for the state, which – for the first time ever – saw eager consumers flock to licensed dispensaries for a taste of legal weed.

For the month of March, adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois totaled an impressive $35.9 million. This is according to the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which clarified that cannabis sales in Illinois were three percent higher in March than they were the previous month; this could be attributed to the fact that 2020 was a leap year therefore February had just 29 days. However, revenue earned throughout March was eight percent less than January; likely due to the fact that sales kicked off at this time.

“Three straight months of consistent adult use cannabis sales show there is – and will continue to be – strong support and demand from consumers,” said the Department in a statement.

Illinois cannabis businesses deemed “essential” amid coronavirus outbreak

Luckily for cannabis business owners in Illinois, the industry has been deemed essential business. This means that stores will not need to shut while the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic lingers. On the other hand, it’s not business as usual. Restrictions have been imposed for medical and recreational cannabis businesses in Illinois; consumers are limited to curbside delivery and pickup.

Because of this, sales revenue will likely keep rolling in for the state at this crucial moment in time, which has left patients and recreational consumers desperate to stock-up on their bud. However, it’s not exactly what new business owners expected when they first opened their doors to adult-use customers a few months back. Now, they are making an effort to enforce social distancing in order to keep their stores operational and the community safe.

“We had to literally change the entire way we operate overnight,” general manager for Dispensary33, Paul Lee, told reporters. “It’s like reinventing the wheel all the time here. We just got our feet under us.”

Strong sales of recreational cannabis in Illinois stand to benefit major companies 

Data published by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation did not clarify how much each dispensary or operator sold in Q1 2020. Nonetheless, sales revenue growth is a sign that things are headed in the right direction. 

Companies like Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries are sure to reap the rewards of Illinois cannabis sales success, what with these Chicago-headquartered companies owning numerous dispensaries across the state. Following the announcement of Q1 2020 sales in Illinois, Cresco’s shares increased 7.7 percent.