Illinois has reached a marijuana milestone, surpassing more than $1 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2020, new state data shows. Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries sold $331,224,390 in cannabis products through the end of November.
Marijuana is big business in Illinois
It was just one year ago that regulated recreational cannabis sales launched in Illinois, and the state has seen a significant upward trend in purchases in the months since, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now state officials are reporting at least $1,000,308,800 in total sales from medical and recreational marijuana purchases over the course of the year—and that doesn’t include data from medical cannabis sales in December, which has not been released yet.
There were $87 million in adult-use marijuana purchases in December alone, data released Monday shows. That’s roughly $10 million more than the prior month. Total monthly recreational sales have more than doubled since retail shops opened in January ($39 million), according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Together, 2020 adult-use and medical cannabis sales reported to date amount to $1,000,308,800—a total that will increase when December’s medical figures are posted.
Nearly 1.9 million recreational cannabis products were sold in December, with more than a quarter of purchases being made by out-of-state residents. Altogether, retailers in the state sold 14,485,704 adult-use marijuana products in 2020.
After 77,128 transactions, Illinois raked in $3.2 million on the first day of marijuana sales pic.twitter.com/Qyd1dxhnCu
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) January 10, 2020
More states legalize recreational cannabis use
The sales figures are resulting in a much-needed windfall for state programs. In October, officials announced that the state had so far collected more than $100 million in revenue from cannabis sales since the market opened.
Officials have stressed that while they appreciate the economic benefits of legalization, the policy must be coupled with restorative justice for communities most impacted by the drug war.
To that end, about 25 percent of the tax dollars collected from marijuana sales are designated for restorative justice grants, while other funds will support substance misuse and mental health treatment. The state announced in May that it was making about $31 million in social equity grants available to communities identified as economically distressed.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) also recently announced more than 500,000 expungements and pardons for people with low-level marijuana offenses on their records.
The governor granted an earlier round of more than 11,000 pardons for cannabis-related convictions prior to the implementation of the market.
Relatedly, a state-funded initiative was recently established to help residents with marijuana convictions get legal aid and other services to have their records expunged.
With the latest sales figures, Illinois seems to have truly demonstrated that, as a top regulator put it in August, its cannabis market is “recession-proof” and “pandemic-proof.”