It’s no secret that the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program has had more than its fair share of struggles to get up and running. Becoming the 20th state to legalize medical cannabis, the Illinois General Assembly approved The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act in 2013, and the law technically went into effect January 1, 2014.
The struggle didn’t end there. Patients had to wait nearly two years before they were given safe, reliable access to medicine through retail locations in November 2015. Even then, dispensaries were not open everywhere throughout the state until much later. Patients on the South Side of Chicago, for example, didn’t have a neighborhood dispensary until April 2016.
The March numbers for the Program are very encouraging–we’re constantly working to increase access for patients in Illinois and help with the administration and expedite the approval of applications. These numbers show that engagement, awareness and education can work.
excitedly stated by Cresco Labs CEO, Charles Bachtell.
Since then, the program has seen slow and steady growth. Indicating that some of the larger hurdles may be in the past, March was a record breaking month for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program, which has been extended through 2020. Some noteworthy statistics are as follows:
- New completed program applications increased by 1,485 or 7% to 21,300
- Approved patients increased by 1,299 or 8% to 18,289
- Patients served increased to 12,224, up 1,510 patients from last month (67% of total patients)
- Retail sales increased by $1.4M or 28% to $6.4M
- Wholesale transfer to dispensaries increased by $745k or 25% to $3.8M
- The average retail cost per gram of flower increased to $12.18
- The average grams purchased per patient per day increased to 1.03 grams
Some may credit the qualifying conditions list expansion last July as a possible catalyst for program growth. After a lengthy battle with Gov. Bruce Rauner, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition suffered by more than five million people in the United States, was added to the list of conditions which qualify a patient to apply to the program.
Illinois medical cannabis patient and Co-Founder of the largest online community for patients in Illinois, Joel Erickson was cautiously optimistic of the news stating, “As granular as you’d like to break these statistics down, there are still significant price barriers for patients at the register.”
Now that the program has been extended through 2020, steady growth is expected to continue. This is also good news for cultivation and retail businesses which will have the opportunity to grow with the program.