Breaking records has become a monthly tradition for Illinois’ still-young recreational cannabis market. Just as with June, and May before that, July represented a new-high for weed sales in the Land of Lincoln.
Marijuana shops in the state raked in nearly $61 million last month, according to the Chicago Tribune, eclipsing the $47.6 million generated in June. That June figure was previously the high-water mark for Illinois, beating May’s tally of $44.3 million in adult use pot sales. The Tribune cited experts who “expected high sales numbers from the new industry, factoring in Illinois’ population, vast tourism industry and the lack of legal weed sales in neighboring states.” In total, Illinois’ recreational marijuana dispensaries, which opened for business on New Year’s Day, have “sold about $300.1 million in recreational weed this year,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
In June, according to local sources, Illinois’ marijuana shops sold 994,545 items, with the average purchase coming to about $48 (not including additional taxes). A little more than $35 million of the June revenue was generated by Illinois residents, while the remaining $12.4 million came from out of state customers.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed a bill last summer ushering in the new era of legalization. The new law has also resulted in pardons for thousands of individuals who had previously been hit with low-level pot convictions. On the eve of the new law taking effect, Pritzker issued more than 11,000 such pardons, declaring it an end to “the 50-year-long war on cannabis,” and a restoration of “rights to tens of thousands of Illinoisans.” Pritzker’s office has hailed the law as “the most equity-centric recreational cannabis legalization in the nation.”
“We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core,” Pritzker said at the time.
Illinois’ Successful Cannabis Market
The new law has proven to be extremely lucrative for the state, as well. Last month, Pritzker announced that the state had raked in $52 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales in the opening six months of the law. His administration said it had “collected $34.7 million in cannabis excise taxes in the second half of fiscal year 2020,” while “the Illinois Department of Revenue collected $18 million in sales taxes that will be shared with local governments.” The Department of Revenue has estimated that $25.9 million will be directed to the state’s General Fund from excise and sales taxes.
“Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation, and we’re ensuring that communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs have the opportunity to participate,” Pritzker said in a press release last month.
“Since January, over $239 million has been spent on recreational cannabis in Illinois translating to $52 million in tax revenue, and a portion of every dollar spent will be reinvested in communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.”