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Strong Cannabis Sales In Illinois And Michigan Point To Sustained, Broad Demand

July 13, 2021

Cannabis sales in Illinois and Michigan continue to be a boon for the industry.

The two Midwest markets, which came online within a month of each other at the beginning of 2020, have matured into powerful pockets of consumer demand, with sales figures that have continued to grow amid the pandemic. As forerunners of the latest wave of legalization, the successful rollout in both states is instructive for others like New York and New Jersey that are preparing to launch legal sales.
In Illinois, home of major producers and retailers Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries, adult-use cannabis sales held above $110 million for the third straight month in June, according to data from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Sales slipped approximately $1 million from May’s all-time high of $116.4 million in dollar terms, reflecting broad declines in cannabis prices. However, the state set a new record in terms of items sold at 2,513,676 discrete cannabis products. Patrons of Illinois dispensaries have purchased approximately $625.7 million worth of cannabis so far in 2021—not far off from the $669 million sold in all of 2020, putting sales on track to break $1 billion this year and come close to doubling year-over-year.

In Michigan, meanwhile, the market is slightly smaller but not by much. Adult-use sales reached a new high in June at $107.4 million, according to the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA). It’s the third month that Michigan sales have topped $100 million following a spike in purchases in March that brought sales from a six-month plateau around $60 million close to its current highs, which appear to be a new baseline. Michigan’s MRA breaks down sales by product type; in June the state sold $55 million of flower, $21 million of vape cartridges, and $15.3 million of edibles, with the remainder split between smaller categories including shake, trim, and concentrates.

Another notable parallel between Illinois and Michigan are the delays in opening cannabis businesses in the states’ biggest urban centers. While Chicago now has opened a handful of dispensaries, the second recreational-only location opened more than six months after sales began last year and they are still relatively scarce in a city of that size.

Similarly, Detroit has repeatedly delayed opening locations within its limits. This has created the perhaps unexpected situation of cannabis retail being distributed more evenly throughout both states, in smaller communities. The strong statewide performances despite the relatively slow urban rollouts only underscore the breadth of demand for cannabis in newly legal markets.—Danny Sullivan

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