Illinois' adult-use cannabis industry sold over $100 million worth of weed last month, shattering every previous monthly sales record.
In March, cannabis lovers spent $109,149,356 to buy 2,317,315 adult-use weed products from state-licensed retailers. Illinois residents accounted for $75.7 million worth of these sales, while residents of nearby Iowa, Indiana, and other prohibition states snatched up another $33.4 million worth of legal pot. This impressive total averages out to around $3.5 million of pot sold every single day of the month.
These sales don't even take the state's thriving medical cannabis industry into account. Health officials have yet to release data for March's medical marijuana sales, but January's medical sales topped $33 million, and similar results are predicted for March. So, we're really looking at between $140 to $150 million worth of legal cannabis being sold in just one month.
This is the first time that Illinois' monthly adult-use sales exceeded $100 million, but it probably won't be the last. Even though the state's legal weed industry only opened for business in January of 2020, it has been breaking new sales records almost every single month. Last April, during the first wave of the pandemic, the state's legal pot shops still made a record $37.26 million in sales.
Sales continued to grow month-by-month as 2020 dragged on, which the state's top pot regulators took as concrete evidence that the legal cannabis industry is both “recession-proof” and “pandemic-proof.” By the end of the year, Illinois made over $1 billion in combined recreational and medical cannabis sales.
These sales figures aren't just great news for legal weed business owners, they're great for the entire state. Illinois collected a quarter of a million bucks in cannabis tax revenue last year, making it the fourth-largest weed tax earner in the entire US. And instead of keeping all this money for themselves, state officials are directing some of these funds to help communities that have been ravaged by marijuana prohibition.
Last June alone, the state invested $31.5 million in grants to fund economic development in underserved and marginalized neighborhoods. Some of this tax windfall is also being used to help fund nonprofit legal aid programs that help former cannabis offenders clear their criminal records.
In 2021, as the state's market matures, things are looking even brighter. This January, the state made a new adult-use sales record of $88.8 million, and although sales slumped back down to $80.8 million in February, they busted that $100 million mark in March. If sales keep advancing at this pace, it's looking like Illinois will hit over $1 billion in adult-use sales this year, and medical marijuana sales will push that number even higher.
This year, the Prairie State might just have a chance to beat Oregon, which sold over $1 billion in legal weed in 2020. Illinois' legal weed market could eventually even grow to rival Colorado's chart-topping pot market, which is now making over $2 billion in annual sales.