Lockdown? What lockdown?

Illinois residents continue to patronize marijuana dispensaries in spite of the many restrictions on movement engendered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though April was the first full month of social-distancing rules and the closure of non-essential businesses, cannabis sales in the state still grew by 3.8% over the March figure to nearly $37.3 million, according to official data compiled by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. That was also the second-highest tally in the four months that recreational marijuana has been legal in the state.

Generic marijuana dispensary sign.

Image source: Getty Images.

Dispensaries have the advantage of being considered essential businesses in Illinois, a policy choice similar to that made in other states where at least medical cannabis is legal. Yet its dispensaries still have to operate under a clutch of limitations and coronavirus-mitigating regulations.

In order to help its young marijuana industry, Illinois also announced when unveiling the latest monthly figures that it would extend until May 30 the period that dispensaries are allowed to sell medical marijuana via curbside pickup.

"Our top priority is to ensure consumers are safe when they go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis," said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control to Gov. Pritzker, in the news release. "The steps we've taken to increase social distancing at dispensaries are accomplishing that, while also enabling this new industry to continue to grow."

Two prominent cannabis companies with relatively large dispensary networks are headquartered in Chicago: Green Thumb Industries (OTC:GTBIF) and Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF). Neither has yet broken out sales figures for April.

On Tuesday, Green Thumb shares shot 6.7% higher, well eclipsing the gains of the broader stock market. Cresco, however, only edged up marginally on the day. 

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