New data released by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shows that over $1 billion worth of Illinois cannabis sales were produced in the year 2020, marking a new marijuana milestone for the state. The unprecedented statistics come in the first year of legalization, with the state’s recreational cannabis program launched in January of 2020.
Despite the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the state saw significant upward trends in purchases in following months—consistent with other legalized states. This phenomenon has led to the marijuana industry being labeled as ‘pandemic proof,’ and sparked a nationwide race among states to legalize the substance in hopes of procuring similar tax revenues like that of Illinois.
In December alone, there were $87 million worth of purchases for the adult-use market—roughly $10 million more than November totals. Nearly 1.9 million recreational cannabis products were sold and bought in December, with more than a quarter of those purchases being made by out-of-state residents likely visiting home for the holidays.
The December figures come with an asterisk, as medical sales for the month have not yet been released. This will not only increase December totals, but likely vault the yearly total well over the $1 billion mark (it currently stands at $1,000,308,800).
As of October 2020, the state of Illinois had announced that it collected more than $100 million in tax revenue since recreational cannabis sales were brought to the market in January. This tax revenue had widespread economic benefits, as about 75% of the tax revenue was pumped back into state projects and funds.
The remaining 25% of tax dollars are used for restorative justice grants, substance abuse programs, and mental health treatment initiatives. This is consistent with officials' dedication to use the cannabis market to restore justice for communities of color and those disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.