Illinois Sets A New Record For Cannabis Sales In July
In just this past month another record-breaking amount of legal marijuana has been sold in Illinois. This time around $128 million was made and there are receipts to prove these transactions according to the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. This means these cannabis sales make for more than $10 million over the state’s prior month record sale.
The last time Illinois had a record-breaking month was back in May of 2020. This accomplishment is the most current indicator that the state’s popular cannabis program is continuing to thrive. Even with the pandemic still causing issues as well as the growing economic uncertainty.
Altogether, customers purchased 2,802,124 different cannabis products in July which came to be another monthly record. Of the $127,794,220.50 complete purchases, IDFPR announced, residents of Illinois accounted for about $85 million. For those who don’t live in the state, they accounted for the other $42 million in total sales.
The Chicago Tribune gave Lollapalooza a great amount of credit for the out-of-state sales. The music festival Lollapalooza was held in Chicago from the end of July through early August. Retailers in nearby areas told the paper they saw a 50 percent spike in marijuana sales during that time
“Summer tourism and the Lollapalooza attendees were strong contributors to July’s out-of-state sales,” said Jason Erkes, a spokesperson for Cresco Labs, which operates Sunnyside Dispensary, the nearest retailer to the festival. “We saw thousands of festivalgoers over the weekend at our River North store, making it our biggest weekend to date.”
More Legal Cannabis Sales Means More Money
Sales to in-state residents also saw a notable rise, in marijuana sales with more than $6 million from June. The new numbers do not combine purchases of medical cannabis. The way medical cannabis sales are tracked is done separately by a different agency. July makes the fifth consecutive month that sales in Illinois’s adult-use market have exceeded $100 million.
If sales continue to flourish, Illinois is on track to generate more than $1 billion in adult-use marijuana sales in 2021. That would mean a big jump in revenue for the state. Illinois sold about $670 million in cannabis back in 2020 of which $205.4 million was made just in tax revenue.
Illinois made more tax money from marijuana than alcohol for the first time last quarter. This accomplishment was documented by the state Department of Revenue reported in May. From January to March, Illinois generated about $86,537,000 in adult-use marijuana tax revenue.
This is in comparison to $72,281,000 that was made just from liquor sales. Back in June state officials spent $3.5 million from legal cannabis sales. This money was used to try and reduce violence through street intervention programs.
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More Cannabis Sales Are Happening For Illinois
The governor of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is growing “tired” of hearing about these sales figures he said in April. He spoke in a joking context that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker always “thanks me for having Wisconsinites cross the border to buy marijuana.” Since the neighboring state has yet to legalize marijuana in some form.
Illinois officials have insisted that the tax dollars from legal cannabis are being used for the right things. For instance, the state declared at the start of 2021 that it is distributing $31.5 million in grants. These grants would be funded by marijuana tax dollars to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
The money is part of the state’s Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program. The above program was created under Illinois’s adult-use cannabis legalization law. It requires 25 percent of marijuana tax dollars to be put in that fund. These funds would then be used to accommodate disadvantaged people with helping services. Meaning support for things such as legal aid, youth development, community reentry, and financial support.
The Future Of Illinois Cannabis Market
Giving the new grant money is not the only thing that Illinois is doing to promote social equity. They are also using these funds to try and fix the damage of cannabis criminalization Right before the start of 2021 Pritzker announced that his office had processed more than 500,000 expungements and pardons. These were for people with low-level cannabis crimes showing on their records.
Similarly, a state-funded initiative was recently established to aid residents with marijuana convictions. This initiative will help those with past cannabis crimes get legal. This is in addition to further assistance to have their records expunged.
Still supporting social equity in the Illinois cannabis market has shown to be a challenge. Illinois has encountered judgment from advocates and legal issues from marijuana business applicants. These marijuana business applicants believe officials haven’t done enough to guarantee diversity among business owners in the industry.
Legislators recently sent a bill to Pritzker’s desk that is meant to build upon the state’s legalization law. Which would lead to producing more cannabis business licensing opportunities. If successful it would help people from disproportionately affected areas enter into the marijuana industry. Regulators are now accommodating a series of lotteries to grant additional dispensary licenses.
Meanwhile, a House committee recently approved a resolution that broadly condemns the war on drugs. The House is calling it “the United States’ longest and costliest war and ultimately a complete and shameful failure.”
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