Illinois marijuana shops sold almost $61 million in recreational weed in July, beating the previous record set in June by $13.4 million.
In all, dispensaries have sold about $300.1 million in recreational marijuana since sales started in Illinois Jan. 1.
The sales figures have set new records every month since May. July’s sales were a 75% increase over February, the month with the lowest sales at $34.8 million.
New marijuana markets typically see increasing sales for the first several years, as customers stop buying from their illicit drug dealers and start shopping at legal dispensaries instead.
But weed sales in many states, including Illinois, got an extra boost during the second quarter of the year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, said John Kagia, chief knowledge officer at Washington, D.C.-based research firm New Frontier Data.
When most retail shops shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in March, marijuana stores in Illinois, most of which serve medical patients and recreational customers, were designated as essential.
The pandemic has also driven demand, as people have turned to marijuana to treat the anxiety stemming from a public health and economic crisis, Kagia said.
“People are not only consuming more because they have more time at home, but there’s also a subset of consumers who are consuming more as they manage the stress and anxiety of the pandemic,” he said.