As we’ve discussed on our blog and our podcast, we have been closely watching how marijuana sales fare in the face of the recession created by the coronavirus. Sales figures for marijuana in May are still rolling in, but early returns appear favorable. For example, Illinois set a new record high in May with over $44 million in recreational sales. The previous high-water mark was $39.2 million in recreational sales in January 2020, which was the first month of legalized adult-use marijuana. Oregon also enjoyed a monthly sales record for combined recreational and medical marijuana and eclipsed $100 million in monthly sales for the first time. Sales this May in Oregon were up 60% compared to sales in May 2019.
While Oklahoma does not permit recreational marijuana, recent sales figures for its medical program are eye-popping. In the first five months of 2020 alone, medical sales have totaled nearly $275 million. And those numbers are on the rise: April sales increased to $61.5 million, a 21% jump from the prior month, and sales climbed to almost $74 million in May.
Although we do not yet have May sales figures for Colorado and Nevada, it’s worth noting that April sales were down for both states on a year-over-year basis. That decline might be explained by each state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic—dispensaries in Nevada remained open, but only for home delivery, while Colorado dispensaries were limited to just curbside pickup. It will be interesting to see whether there is an uptick in sales for May in those states.
Please check our blog for continued updates on the cannabis industry, including developments related to the coronavirus. Also, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for up-to-date information to help you stay informed of the legal issues related to COVID-19.