Illinois was the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis — and it did so on January 1, 2020. Since sales kicked off, business has been excellent. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were strong. According to the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Illinois recreational marijuana sales reached record-breaking new heights in July. In fact, July sales units surpassed the one million mark — totaling over $60 million — in just that one month alone.
In or out
Sales from out-of-state residents comprise a stable and consistent source of revenue. In July, those out-of-staters bought up over $16 million in marijuana. Going back to the start, non-residents snapped up over $8.6 million worth of marijuana in the first month, a nice boost to the $30+ million generated by residents.
These sales figures don’t include purchases via the state’s medical cannabis program. Sales ebbed a bit in February and March before skyrocketing again. Let’s break it down with data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation:
- January in-state resident sales: $30,611,632 | Out-of-state sales: $8,636,208
- February in-state resident sales: $25,615,371 | Out-of-state sales: $9,189,701
- March in-state resident sales: $27,096,931 | Out-of-state sales: $8,805,611
- April in-state resident sales: $29,735,650 | Out-of-state sales: $7,524,847
- May in-state resident sales: $34,095,756 | Out-of-state sales: $10,221,629
- June in-state resident sales: $35,256,165 | Out-of-state sales: $12,390,271
- July in-state resident sales: $44,749,787 | Out-of-state sales: $16,207,193
Fat tax (revenue)
Before recreational marijuana use was legal in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 people with marijuana convictions. Seemingly knowing just how vital the cannabis industry would be, revenue-wise, to the state, he predicted that Illinois would generate a profit from cannabis tourism to Illinois during his January State of the State address.
State officials have made it clear that they are very interested in the robust tax revenue recreational marijuana generates. The state made it clear from the start that it would use those funds for the greater good, by reinvesting into communities affected by drugs. We’re talking serious money, too; the state brought in $52 million in marijuana tax revenue in just six months. In May, the state announced that $31.5 million in restorative justice grants were available. Additionally, 25 percent of that $52 million tax windfall will go toward social equity programs.
Illinois has come out of the gate like a prize-winning racehorse. The Chicago Tribune reported January 2 that the state generated $3.2 million in its first day of recreational sales. Marijuana Business Daily reported February 4 that the state sold $40 million in its first month. Likewise, the state boasted $110 million in sales in the first quarter of 2020.
July was a big month for Illinois recreational weed. July kicked off another tax booster, with an increase of three percent (or more) to the state’s recreational marijuana taxes — an independent tax assessment collected by municipalities and counties that allow adult-use sales. July also marked the deadline for the state to issue new license categories, intending to bring smaller businesses into the industry and minimize marketplace dominance from a handful of large companies.