By Becky Olson
Medical marijuana patients in Illinois are already warming up to alternative forms of cannabis.
Infused products and concentrates accounted for 11% – or roughly $132,000 – of the $1.2 million in sales Illinois dispensaries racked up in January, according to the Associated Press.
That’s a solid start for a new market, and it’s likely only the tip of the iceberg.
The first dispensaries in Illinois opened on Nov. 9, and nearly two dozen are now up and running. But only a handful of the 17 operational cultivation sites in Illinois are currently making infused products and concentrates for sale at the dispensaries.
As more cultivators start manufacturing these products – and more patients in general become familiar with them – edibles, topicals and concentrates will likely account for a bigger share of total sales.
In Arizona, which launched its medical marijuana industry several years ago, infused products and concentrates currently comprise about 9.5% of MMJ sales in the state, according to the most recent data from the state’s health department.
But they can account for a much higher percentage of sales, depending on their availability and the dynamics of the market.
Infused products and concentrates have proven to be very popular with medical patients who typically require high doses and want to avoid smoking. They’re also popular with consumers in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, particularly among tourists who are either generally more interested in being discreet or are inexperienced and find these products to be more approachable.
In Washington State, edibles, topicals and concentrates accounted for 25% of total recreational marijuana sales in the third quarter of 2015, according to a report recently published by BDS Analytics.
If Illinois’ January figures are any indication, the proliferation of these products should provide a small boost to the state’s dispensaries and cultivators, who are currently questioning the sustainability of the entire program due to low patient count.
Becky Olson can be reached at [email protected]