Chart of the Week: Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Market Gaining Steam

illinois mmj

By Marijuana Business Daily staff

After a relatively slow start, the medical marijuana industry in Illinois is finally seeing some sizable growth – both in retail sales and patient counts.

Monthly medical cannabis sales via dispensaries have ballooned by 83% since January, reaching $2.2 million in April alone.

The state’s MMJ industry is now on pace to rack up roughly $25 million in sales this year, putting it right in the middle of the $20 million-$30 million estimate in the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook.

The final tally, however, could be closer to $35 million if the trend of roughly 20% month-over-month sales increases continues.

The spike is in line with the rapid growth many markets see in the months after the first dispensaries open, and it gives hope to business owners who are worried about the viability of the market.

Sales and patient counts continue to grow at a rapid clip for years in most states, which bodes well for the future of the Illinois MMJ industry.

When the first dispensaries in Illinois opened in early November, about 3,200 patients had qualified for MMJ cards.

The patient count nearly doubled by the end of April, hitting 6,200. About 700-800 patients are joining the program each month, meaning the base could surpass 10,000 by the end of the year. The increased availability of infused products and concentrates is also helping to fuel growth.

While the numbers are encouraging, they are still not strong enough to allay the fears of business owners, who in the past have said that the market needs at least 20,000 patients by early next year to stabilize.

At the end of April, Illinois had 36 registered dispensaries (most of them have opened, though a handful are still preparing to launch). Based on the sales figures, it appears each dispensary on average is only bringing in $40,000 to $60,000 a month.

Given the high startup and operating costs of running a dispensary in Illinois, some businesses will certainly struggle unless the market grows rapidly.

Business owners are hoping the state will approve more medical conditions to expand the market base.

The state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended adding new conditions multiple times in the past, but its suggestions have been shot down.

Last month, the board recommended the addition of 15 ailments, including chronic pain. The state’s health department has not yet decided whether to follow the suggestions. If it approves some or all of those conditions, the industry could be in for a sizable growth spurt.

3 comments on “Chart of the Week: Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Market Gaining Steam
  1. Nicole van Rensburg on

    I co-own a medical cannabis dispensary,, in the Chicago suburbs. We are very eager for Governor Rauner to approve the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s recommended conditions. Every day we speak to prospective patients who want access to this medication but don’t qualify under the current program. Furthermore of the current 39 qualifying conditions and diseases, none of them are psychiatric.

    Please help us get more signatures and send a message to the Governor and Director of Public Health that Illinois residents deserve access to medical cannabis.

    • Bob on

      The biggest issue is the fact that many doctors are still screwing their patients. Done by telling them that “they don’t believe in it.” Successfully screwing their patients. We also need to make sure doctors do not have to jump through a million hoops in order to prescribe to patients. Not only that fact but, we need to also get some dispensaries in more places than just chicago!!!

      • Lawrence D. Goodwin on

        Arrogant doctors are “screwing their patients” here in New York, too, with no regard for U.S. history. NY doctors are in possibly criminal cahoots with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker (the latter of whom recently rejected adding 5 medical conditions to “qualify” for medical cannabis, depriving tens of thousands of New Yorkers suffering from PTSD, Alzheimer’s, etc. safe access—and he did so with zero public accountability for his actions). Officials like Cuomo and Zucker in New York, under the pretext of “protecting public health,” are proud about instituting a blatant form of discrimination against smokers by arrogantly prohibiting all sales and consumption of seedless, female cannabis flowers (called “marihuana” in state and federal laws). They even portray New York’s medical marijuana farce as a new national model. Please. Fewer than 600 physicians out of 19,000 in New York have taken the course mandated by Cuomo and Zucker to recommend the “legal” medical cannabis products (pills, tinctures and vaporizable oils), which are produced by a mere 5 vertically-integrated companies. New York’s medical cannabis market is pathetic and may soon disappear because of such political interference. Cannabis flowers are among the most wonderful gifts offered by Mother Nature, as America’s doctors understood full well decades back when they commonly utilized products derived from cannabis to treat a wide array of medical conditions. Every passing day of “marihuana” prohibition is the real threat to public health—the rocket fuel of billion-dollar markets for synthetic drug companies.

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