State data confirms that recreational cannabis sales in Illinois exceeded $1 billion in 2020

New state data released by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) shows that cannabis sales in Illinois have hit a milestone. Based on the latest figures, legal sales surpassed $1 billion in 2020; in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

State officials report that combined sales from the medical and recreational cannabis market in Illinois topped $1,000,308,800 during 2020. Since adult-use cannabis stores first opened their doors in January 2020, monthly recreational sales have more than doubled.

Even more impressive is the fact that this data excludes sales figures for medical cannabis sales in December, when adult-use cannabis purchases totaled $87 million. In comparison with November sales figures, December represented a $10 million increase.

Legal recreational cannabis sales in Illinois began in 2020

It was on January 1, 2020, that legal recreational cannabis sales in Illinois first became available. The market blossomed following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signing of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in 2019. When vendors announced that they had processed sales transactions to the amount of $11 million, state officials were satisfied that the first week of legal adult-use cannabis sales had surpassed expectations.

State regulators have disclosed that licensed cannabis dispensaries in Illinois sold $580 million of adult-use cannabis over the first 11 months of 2020. In addition to this, medical cannabis transactions have amounted to more than $331 million. 

Some of the state’s licensed and actively operating dispensaries include Ascend in Springfield, Greenhouse in Melrose Park, Zen Leaf in Aurora and Charleston, Dispensary 33 in Fulton Market, Sunnyside in Chicago and Nature’s Treatment in Galesburg; to name a few. Menus feature a range of products, including smokable flower or bud, edibles, concentrates – as dabs, shatter and wax topicals, tinctures and vape cartridges.

According to the rules, state residents are allowed to buy a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis, five grams of cannabis concentrates including hash and wax and edibles with a THC cap of 500mg. It should be noted that, while the Illinois medical cannabis program is open to adults age 18 or older and their children, customers must be aged 21 years and above to buy the plant; in any form.

Future prospects for the Illinois cannabis industry are promising

Analysts and industry experts see plenty of room for the Illinois cannabis industry to expand in 2021. These predictions seem likely to transpire, what with more municipalities anticipated to approve cannabis stores this year. Moreover, 30 new cannabis retailers who applied from the initial licensing round are expected to open their doors in the foreseeable future.

The rescoring of retail cannabis licenses in Illinois has also been permitted by the state, which means that 75 new adult-use licenses are up for grabs. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is optimistic that the licensing do-over will help the market grow at an exponential rate. The legal challenge was first filed in October 2020 by three cannabis companies. 

Licensing and industry oversight for the Illinois cannabis industry is dealt with by the IDFPR. Currently, the state has 21 licensed cannabis cultivators and will soon award 40 new craft cultivation permits.