ohio set a medical marijuana monthly sales record in april crains cleveland business - Ohio set a medical marijuana monthly sales record in April - Crain's Cleveland Business
Pot%20plant%20from%20Calyx%2C%20Jeremy i - Ohio set a medical marijuana monthly sales record in April - Crain's Cleveland Business

It has been a good few months for Ohio’s medical marijuana business.

Through May 11, there has been about $57 million in marijuana retail sales — about on par with how much marijuana was sold in the entire first year of sales in 2019. In other words, there’s been as much marijuana sold in less than five months this year than all of last year, according to the latest sales data.

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The Buckeye State’s marijuana industry has certainly developed since sales began in January 2019. But this is all happening with just a handful of provisionally licensed marijuana growers and product manufacturers enjoying that activity. There are just 20 of 33 provisionally licensed cultivators (10 large growers and 10 small) and 19 of 45 processors in operation today. The dispensary end of the industry has come a bit further along, with 51 of 56 provisionally licensed retailers currently open.

April was the busiest month for the program to date, with the week of April 20 (which, being 4/20, is considered a sort of holiday for cannabis fans in marijuana culture) setting an overall record for weekly sales at about $4 million.

Average sales per week are ticking up, too. That figure was about $2.7 million in February, $3.2 million in March and $3.6 million in April.

Patient rolls have been steadily growing at a rate of about 7% a month so far this year. There were 101,427 registered patients as of April 30 — about 73% of those have purchased something so far — with 11,646 registered caregivers.

There was a slight dip in sales in March as the pandemic led to stay-at-home orders, but that was followed by a rebound. An uptick in sales resulted from concerns that dispensaries might be closed by the state government as various coronavirus-related travel and business restrictions were implemented by Gov. Mike DeWine. The state eventually designated licensed marijuana companies as essential businesses.

A seemingly bigger impact came in the back half of April as regulators altered rules to allow for online ordering and curbside pickup in addition to relaxing restrictions on the amount of product patients could buy during their 90-day supply window. Patients can, at least for now, buy products in two 45-day windows. The total amount someone can buy is still the same as dictated by their approved 90-day supply. The difference is in how that allotment is calculated. If someone buys medical marijuana on day 30 of their 90-day supply, they could only purchase up to 60-days-worth of product, for example — so there was a sort of use-it-or-lose-it restriction at play with the original rules. The amended rules allow anyone to buy up to 45-days-worth of product at any point over that 45-day period.

Several marijuana dispensaries, like Greenleaf Apothecaries, which operates The Botanist shops in Ohio, has reported that customers have been making fewer trips, but buying more on average with each visit.

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