Sales high: Cannabis purchases near $1 billion annually in Illinois

September sales hit just over $120 million, making it the seventh month in a row in which sales topped nine figures.

Updated: October 22, 2021 - 11:05pm

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The legal recreational cannabis market continues to hold steady in Illinois as the end of September saw cannabis product sales for the year near the $1 billion mark.

September sales hit just over $120 million, making it the seventh month in a row in which sales exceeded $1 million, Marijuana Moment reported. Last month’s sales are an 80% increase over the same month last year, the article stated.

Morgan Fox, spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association, says this growth is largely a continuation of the trend away from the unregulated market.

“They’re concerned about things like safety as well as quality and convenience, not to mention making sure their money is going toward legitimate businesses that are acting responsibly,” he said.

September’s numbers are down from a high in July as well as August. Fox attributes this to part of a leveling off after an initial spike.

“We saw that at the beginning of the pandemic as well as increases – temporarily – because of people stocking up, because they were worried about continued access, but when cannabis businesses were considered essential that tapered off a little bit,” he said.

In legalizing cannabis, lawmakers anticipated tapping a new revenue stream that so far hasn’t disappointed.

“Every sale that takes place on the regulated market is a sale that doesn’t take place on the unregulated market, and that represents a significant change in the direction that that revenue is flowing,” Fox said.

That revenue could see a drop as other states legalize, but Fox thinks growth could continue as more businesses get licensed – and if the state would get out of the way.

“We will continue to see that growth, and honestly, I think we would see much more growth if the state were to decrease taxes on cannabis businesses and if the federal government would make it easier for them to find things like banking and financial services and traditional lending so that the regulated businesses would be able to more easily compete with the unregulated market,” he said.

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