Illinois rakes in almost $11 million during the first week of legal cannabis sales

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Since 2020 started, more than $11 million worth of recreational cannabis has been sold in the newly-legal state of Illinois; and that’s just during the first week of legal sales. This is according to the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which has confirmed that the first official day of legal weed in Illinois brought in more than $3.1 million.

A total of 37 cannabis dispensaries in Illinois are currently serving customers. Combined, the dispensaries have carried out more than 271,000 transactions since the year began. Illinois Government’s senior advisor for cannabis control, Toi Hutchinson, says that a portion of the sales will be reinvested in community funding projects. 

“The successful launch of this new industry is a historic development for our state that will benefit the very communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs,” Hutchinson said.

Illinois’ new cannabis law gives convicted individuals a second chance 

On June 25, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, making Illinois the 11th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. As per the terms of the law, adults aged 21 and above can legally purchase a small amount of cannabis at licensed dispensaries. Moreover, individuals who were previously impacted by the War on Drugs have been offered the opportunity to have their cannabis convictions wiped clean.

A “previously unsafe and illegal market” can now be regulated thanks to the drug’s legalization, says Gov. Pritzker. He also says that legalization will restore the rights of those impacted by prohibition, with Pritzker excusing over 11,000 former cannabis convicts on New Year’s Eve; the day before the recreational cannabis law went into effect.

What are consumers indulged with from Illinois’ recreational cannabis market?

Cannabis consumers in Illinois are presented with a vast array of product options in the dispensaries that are currently operating statewide. In the near future, more dispensaries are expected to open their doors. Examples of some product types adorning store shelves include concentrates, edibles and microdosable products.

Customers can purchase a maximum of 30 grams – equivalent to one ounce – of cannabis plant material and edibles containing no more than 500 mg of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Non-resident customers are restricted to purchasing half of the amount allowed by Illinois residents.

Recreational cannabis sales in Illinois are also subject to taxes; raw plant material and cannabis-infused products containing less than 35 percent THC will be taxed at 10 percent of the purchase price; cannabis-infused products exceeding 35 percent THC will be taxed at 20 percent of the total purchase price; raw plant material containing more than 35 percent THC will be taxed at 25 percent of the purchase price.

Illinois’ cannabis supply is running dry 

Due to increasing demand for recreational cannabis in Illinois, many dispensaries have run dry of their stock. As a result of this, business owners have had no choice but to shut up shop until supply shortages are restored. 

In order to provide equal treatment to the growing number of medical cannabis patients in Illinois, select shops are focusing on conducting medical sales instead of recreational transactions. Figures released by the state indicate how within the last year, patient enrolment for Illinois’ medical cannabis program has more than doubled. 

Approximately 87,000 medical cannabis patients are currently served by the state’s licensed growers. Some shops ran out of their product(s) just six days after legal cannabis sales in Illinois commenced, with industry analysts claming that demand from recreational consumers is 10 times that of medical consumers.