Illinois Reaches $1 Billion in Cannabis Sales

Almost one year to the day, we published an article on Illinois’s record-breaking recreational cannabis sales. Last week, Illinois announced that recreational cannabis sales exceeded $1 billion in 2021. This is a substantial commercial milestone since Illinois began its retail cannabis market in 2020.

Illinois’ Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (or the IDFPR) proclaimed that there were approximately  $123 million in recreational cannabis sales last month, bringing the total to $1.12 billion for the fiscal year of 2021 thus far. Eligible adults acquired nearly 2.7 million cannabis products last month, with most exchanges coming from state residents and the remainder from cannabis tourists.

The $123 million pull is more inferior than the state’s peak sales of $127 million back in July. Officials partly credited the sales to an uptick from the music celebration Lollapalooza. Despite this, it was the second-best month since sales launched in January 2020. This is the eighth straight month that adult-use cannabis sales exceeded $100 million in the state of Illinois.

The new data does not contain sales of medicinal cannabis, which are tracked independently by a separate agency in the state.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce chairman prognosticated earlier this Spring that cannabis retailers would sell upwards of $1 billion in adult-use cannabis commerce in 2021, and they’ve now achieved that feat with a few months in the year to spare. The level of cannabis exchange indicates a notable uptick in revenue for Illinois. The state sold nearly $675 million in cannabis in 2020. Illinois also racked up $205 million in taxes associated with adult-use cannabis.

The state of Illinois generated more tax dollars per quarter from cannabis than alcohol for the first time in the state’s history, as reported by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Between January and March, Illinois made roughly $86.5 million in adult-use cannabis tax, versus $72.2 million from liquor purchases.

Earlier in the Summer, Illinois officials invested nearly $3.7 million in cannabis-generated trusts to reduce violence in the streets and similar intervention programs. State officials have indicated that the tax revenue from all cannabis sales is being put to great use. For instance, the state of Illinois announced that it is distributing $33 million in grants powered by cannabis tax dollars to neighborhoods that have been unjustly impacted by the failed war on drugs.

The funds are a component of Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program. R3 was established under Illinois’s adult-use cannabis decriminalization and legalization bill. It requires 25% of cannabis tax bucks to be put into the fund as mentioned earlier and utilized to provide disadvantaged populations with services like legal support, childhood development, financial support, and workforce reentry. Granting the new reward money is not all that Illinois is arranging to uplift social equity while repairing the damages of cannabis criminalization. The office of Illinois’ Attorney General stated last Winter that his office had processed nearly a half of a million expungements and pardons for individuals with minor cannabis convictions of the past. Similarly, a state-funded enterprise was established to help Illinoisans with cannabis convictions get legal support and additional services to erase their records.

However, promoting social equity in Illinois’ cannabis industry has demonstrated a slew of challenges. Illinois has faced objections from cannabis advocates and litigation from cannabis business aspirants who believe state reps haven’t been sufficient in ensuring diversity among cannabis business owners in the market.

The Governor of Illinois signed a law earlier this Summer that was intended to build upon the state’s cannabis legalization legislation by producing more cannabis business licensing possibilities to accommodate individuals from unjustly impacted neighborhoods entering the cannabis market. Administrators have since held a range of lotteries to grant additional cannabis dispensary licenses.

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