Illinois residents spent millions more on cannabis in the first full month of the governor’s statewide coronavirus emergency order.
Dispensaries sold nearly 819,000 items last month. Customers bought $37.26 million worth of cannabis, with nearly $29.74 million of that purchased by those with Illinois state identification, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, or IDFPR.
The order may have had more of an effect on sales to travelers from other states. Out-of-state residents bought over $7.52 million worth of cannabis in April, nearly $1.3 million than the prior month.
All these spending totals do not include the amount cannabis consumers spend in sales and excise taxes, which run somewhere in excess of 25 percent of pre-tax spending, according to previous months’ data from the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Issued in response to the spread of the new coronavirus, the governor’s March 20 order declared the cannabis industry among those business considered “essential,” allowing cultivation centers and dispensaries to remain open.
Both recreational and medical sales were included in an effort to ensure adequate cannabis supply for medical patients during the pandemic, according to IDFPR. A slightly modified stay-at-home order has been extended until May 30.
Ahead of the stay-at-home order, the state regulatory agency loosened rules to allow curbside sales to medical marijuana patients. Those rules have also been extended through the end of May. Delivery and off-site sales remains prohibited, and the new rules do not apply to recreational sales.
“Our top priority is to ensure consumers are safe when they go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis,” Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s senior advisor for cannabis control, said in a statement. “The steps we’ve taken to increase social distancing at dispensaries are accomplishing that, while also enabling this new industry to continue to grow.”
One day before the end of the month, Pritzker signed an executive order delaying the issuance of up to 75 new licenses for recreational cannabis dispensaries. The licenses would have been the first in Illinois not to have been limited to businesses that already operate existing medical marijuana dispensaries. They were also to include the first licenses that considered social equity applicants for approval.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which passed last year and legalized the retail sale of marijuana in the state, includes a May 1 deadline for state regulators to begin issuing new licenses. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker’s executive order suspends the deadline until the end of his ongoing disaster proclamations or until IDFPR officials announce a new date.
Hutchinson said the administration still hopes to develop a legal cannabis industry that reflects the state’s population.
“We recognize that countless entrepreneurs were looking forward to May 1 and the next step it represented for Illinois’ adult use cannabis industry,” Hutchinson said last week. “However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the application review process. This executive order will help ensure that we continue to build out this industry in a deliberate and equity-centric manner.”
The month of April includes the most prominent date in cannabis culture — the 20th of the month, or 4/20. Many dispensaries offered sales or other promotions to mark the 420 holiday. Due to the coronavirus, marijuana enthusiasts were unable to hold large public gatherings to mark the first such event since the state legalized cannabis.
Total amount of pre-tax sales of adult-use cannabis for the first four months after the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act took effect in Illinois. Figures do not include medical sales or taxes collected.
|Items Sold||IL Residents||Out-Of-State||Total Sales|