420 with CNW – Illinois Marijuana Sales Still Surging, Data Shows

October 12, 2020 15:25:39

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the state-legal cannabis industry is still going strong. Although the pandemic forced many industries to shut down, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs, the cannabis industry has fared quite well despite the economic crisis. Most states have seen increased cannabis sales month over month, with some even calling the industry ‘recession-proof’.

One such state is Illinois, which has seen record-breaking marijuana sales for the fifth time in a row. In September, consumers purchased more than 1.4 million marijuana products worth nearly $67 million, with almost $18 million of those sales coming from out-of-state visitors, according to the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. This is a slight increase compared to the 1.3 million marijuana products sold for a total of nearly $64 million in August.

In July, Illinois reported nearly $61 million in adult-use cannabis sales, beating out by a wide margin the $44,749,787 worth of cannabis sold in June.

Although the data from September doesn’t include data about purchases made through the state’s medical cannabis program, it seems to support the notion that the cannabis industry is recession-proof.

Like most states that have legalized cannabis, Illinois declared the cannabis industry essential, allowing businesses to keep operating amidst the lockdown orders.

State officials say that although the month over month increase in sales is positive economic news, they are more interested in directing cannabis tax revenue towards restorative justice measures. Most states that allow cannabis have provisions that allocate cannabis tax revenue to programs that reinvest in communities most affected by the decades’ long war on drugs and Illinois is no different.

Illinois has brought in around $52 million in cannabis tax revenue in the first six months since retail sales began in January. Back in May, the state announced that $31 million in restorative justice grants sourced from cannabis sales tax would be available. Under a Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program established by the legalization bill, the funds would be used to provide grant opportunities for “communities impacted by economic disinvestment, violence and the severe and multilayered harm caused by the war on drugs.”

Later in July, the state announced that 25% of cannabis tax revenue would go toward a social equity program. “We were not doing this to make as much money as we could, “says Toi Hutchinsons, senior cannabis advisor to Gov. J.B Pritzker. “We were actually doing this for the people.”

Many cannabis industry players like The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) believe that legalizing and regulating the industry would bring untold economic benefits, and the figures from Illinois prove this to be the case.

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