Why Have Cannabis Sales Doubled In Illinois?

The New Normal

Up until recent years, Cannabis has been banned in most U.S. states as it is in many other countries around the globe, this has begun to change however with many places starting to ease their grip on strict laws on the drug.

WIth this happening, you may be wondering how legalization is going for states in the U.S. such as Illinois, the answer may surprise you!

Why Have Cannabis Sales Doubled In Illinois

The Legal Status Of Cannabis In Illinois

On January 1st 2020, the U.S. state of Illinois legalized the sale of cannabis to adults (over the age of 21) for use recreationally and/or medically.

From this date, anyone old enough to do so could walk into a licensed dispensary and purchase a Cannabis product for their own use without legal repercussions making a huge change from the way things had been since 1937.

Where the Marihuana Tax Act effectively outlawed the substance in all states in the United States (Also check out Is It Legal To Use Cannabis In Kentucky?) under strict control and penalties including fines and jail time if you were caught using, distributing or growing it..

Are Cannabis Sales Big?

While it’s well known that Illinois wasn’t the first to legalize Cannabis, they certainly aren’t likely to be the last.

Famously, California led the change in 2016 by making it fully legal and creating a multibillion dollar industry overnight which proved there to be a massive market that had been untapped through legal means for a long time.

It’s no secret that Cannabis has been dealt underground for as long as it’s been illegal so the movement of this market from the shadows will have contributed to this.

This may have played into why many states, Illinois included, have since also legalized Cannabis either fully or to a limited extent.

Not only does decriminalization give people the ability to obtain it through legal means but it also creates jobs and does its part in propping up the economy! In short, the sale of Cannabis is indeed big and most certainly profitable.

How Have Sales Been In Illinois?

In short, sales have been good, impressively so. In its first month of legalization back at the start of 2020, 972,045 Cannabis items were sold by the adult-use retailers totalling over $39 million between both in-state and out-of-state resident sales.

That’s no insignificant figure, it only started to go up from there too.

After the boom of the first month of legalization was over and a slight drop in sales three months thereafter, it continued to grow above and beyond that figure to the point where by the end of the first year, December’s sales were totalling almost double at 1,896,941 items sold and just shy of $87 million was made.

Skip ahead to today and those sales haven’t slowed down one bit, quite the opposite. For example, if we take August of 2022 of Illinois Cannabis sales we can see that the trend has continued.

3,063,423 items were sold making over $129 million that month alone.

That’s more than double the amount made in each month of January to August in 2020 showing it’s uptake has increased significantly with consistent growth month on month ongoing.

Why Have Cannabis Sales Doubled In Illinois (1)

Does The State Benefit?

The state certainly benefits from sales of Cannabis, in 2021 from January to November, Illinois reported $387 million in tax revenue, that’s just under $100 million more from legal recreational use Cannabis Sales than from liquor sales, which made $291 million.

As now legal (and so now taxable!) Cannabis sales increase, so does the money made from that taxation giving incentive for it to both remain the case and be taken notice of by other states.

In addition, one could argue that money is being saved or otherwise better spent too by the reduction in police, court and other legal involvement due to a once illegal substance now being perfectly acceptable.

Why The Increase In Sales?

It may be surprising to some that once available legally, many started to obtain the drug. When we take a look at the trend surrounding Cannabis however, it all starts to make sense.

Throughout history, Cannabis has been commonplace in parts of society with some saying its origins go back thousands of years.

From this and that it’s one of the most illicitly used drugs on Earth, it’s clear to see the interest in the use of Cannabis for recreational purposes is pretty high.

So when it became legal, it’s no wonder the uptake was so high! With months and years of acceptance and the slow normalization of both the substance and stores it can be bought from, you can start to understand the growth.

Over time and with the new opportunities, people that may never have considered giving cannabis a go otherwise now can and some may stick with it!

To Summarize

Since the legislation surrounding Cannabis changed in 2020, there has been a clear interest in it by the state’s population.

Whether this be by previously frequent users of the drug who can now do so without fear of persecution or by new users that have only just been able to give it a try, it all adds up and only time has further increased its demand and therefore its profit. 

Not only do eager new business owners get the opportunity to tap into this market but the state itself can earn extra from its sale (even more than it can from alcohol!) so you can see why this has been a positive change for many. 

Given the growth in recent years due to its slow but steady acceptance not just in the state of Illinois itself but around the country as a whole, it’s easy to see why sales were not only initially successful but have doubled since its legalization.

This trend is something we’re not just seeing here but generally in any and all states going through the same change in norms, it’s unlikely to stop and we can expect to see this be the case in the near to distant future. 

Josh Barton
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