As spring emerges, Illinois continues to set new cannabis sales records, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
With $109 million in March sales — up from $80 million in February and shattering the $88 million record set in January — Illinois is poised to sell over a billion dollars worth of adult-use cannabis in 2021, recent figures from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations reveal. The figures translate to $3.5 million in daily sales, a $600,000 increase from February’s daily sales numbers of $2.88 million.
Illinois was the first state in the country to establish its adult-use cannabis market via the legislative process. Since its roll-out in 2020, the state has repeatedly exceeded sales expectations. However, the sales records come as the state works to open its cannabis industry opportunities to include more people who were disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition, all amidst accusations of pay-to-play schemes in the mostly white-dominated industry.
Rep. LaShawn Ford (D) is spearheading the state’s social equity effort with legislation that seeks to expand the program and hold two fresh license lotteries.
“The work continues until we can get people in the house to vote for it, people in the senate to vote for it and the governor to sign it and Black people and Brown people start making money.” — Rep. Ford, in an interview last month
Illinois joins states like Oregon and Colorado in repeatedly breaking sales records. According to a new report by BDSA, the COVID-19 crisis has actually helped to spur more cannabis sales than usual, bringing the national total for medical and adult-use cannabis sales in 2020 to $17 billion. The report puts Illinois at the top of the sales gains for 2020, with an average increase of $784 million (up 46% from 2019).
Kelly Nielsen, the Vice President of Insights & Analytics for cannabis sales platform BDSA, said in an interview with Forbes, “We expected more potential impact from an economic downturn, but the industry has proven to be resilient. It’s potentially recession-proof.”
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