The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) last week released fresh statistics on how the state’s medical cannabis program was faring.
According to IDPH, applications for 46,018 qualifying patients have been approved since the program kicked off in September 2014. It’s a large number, but not so big when you consider Illinois has a population of around 12.8 million – so around a third of one percent.
Retail Medical Cannabis Sales Booming
More than half of all those who have ever been approved for the program purchased medicinal cannabis in September – 26,157 (so ~56%). These patients collectively purchased 519,056 grams of dry cannabis – just over half a tonne.
For the year to September 30, the state’s patients had splashed out $97,495,589.88 on medical cannabis via licensed dispensaries. Retail sales since November 2015 were noted as $221,138,167.35
Sales were certainly healthy in September and will be likely pushed along further as a result of recent changes in legislation. Back in August, we reported Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018 into law, which enables medical cannabis to be used by individuals with a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed. Those in this group must be certified by a licensed physician.
There are currently 40 conditions listed that qualify for the program in Illinois. According to a Northern Public Radio report, more than 4,000 people used medical cannabis this year to treat PTSD, approximately 3,400 for fibromyalgia and 2,500 for cancer. Almost 75% of Illinois medical cannabis patients are older than 40.
On the business side of things, medical cannabis companies from outside Illinois have been eyeing the state. Among them is MedMen, which recently announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Seven Point, a licensed medical cannabis dispensary located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.
“This acquisition brings the MedMen brand to yet another major stage,” said MedMen CEO and Co-founder Adam Bierman. The company already has a presence in California, Nevada and New York.
As at the end of September, there were 55 licensed dispensaries in the state.
This year, Illinois has also made progress on the industrial hemp front, with the passing of Senate Bill 2298 that enables farmers to begin cultivating the crop in the state and amends the Illinois Noxious Weed Law to remove industrial hemp as a listed species.