The global economy has been struggling amid the COVID-19 outbreak. However, cannabis companies haven’t been impacted by the chaos. On Thursday, The Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois sold recreational cannabis worth $44.3 million in May. The amount was highest for the state since it legalized recreational sales in January this year. The state sold over 1 million individual products. The residents in Illinois bought $34 million worth of recreational cannabis, while visitors from other states bought the remaining $10 million worth of marijuana.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker classified cannabis as “essential.” So, many of the dispensaries were open during the lockdown. The Chicago Tribune stated that due to the lockdown, people have been working from home or not working. So, they have more time to focus on marijuana. Now, people rely more on marijuana to deal with anxiety and sleep issues.
Due to restrictions, some dispensaries provided advance online ordering and curbside pickup services. Although there has been a delay in awarding the licenses for 75 new dispensaries to minority and other applicants, the existing 50 license holders are slowing opening their stores, which drives the sales. Along with recreational cannabis, Illinois reported $32 million from medical sales this month. Also, the state could set a new record this year for the highest medical cannabis sales.
Cannabis companies in Illinois
Green Thumb Industries (OTCMKTS:GTBIF), Cresco Labs (OTCMKTS:CRLBF), and MedMen Enterprises (OTCMKTS:MMNFF) are the prominent players in the state. Green Thumb, which owns Rise and Essence brand stores, operates eight stores in Illinois. Last month, the company opened a Rise brand store in Niles, Illinois. Cresco Labs has three cultivation sites and six Sunnyside dispensaries in the state. MedMen also owns two stores in Illinois.
Marijuana stocks’ performance
After underperforming the broader equity markets in the first quarter, there has been an increase in investors’ interest in cannabis in this quarter. In the first quarter, the S&P 500 Index fell by 20%, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) fell by 33.4%. In this quarter, MJ rose 18.0% compared to an increase of 16.2% in the S&P 500 Index. Quarter-to-date, Green Thumb Industries, Cresco Labs, and MedMen Enterprises have returned 51.2%, 34.2%, and 6.6%, respectively.
The impressive first-quarter performance drove Green Thumb’s stock price. Read Why Green Thumb Industries Is a Good Cannabis Bet” to know more about the growth prospects. Last month, Cresco Labs reported a strong first-quarter performance, which drove its stock price.