That is how much Illinois’ nascent recreational marijuana market has brought in during the first two months of operations, a figure that shows steady demand so far.
In January, the first month weed was sold legally for recreational use, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said that marijuana generated $39,247,840.83 worth of sales. Nearly $9 million worth were sold to visitors from outside the state, while more than 970,000 marijuana products were sold in those 31 days. On New Year’s Day, when the marijuana market opened for business in Illinois, sales reached nearly $3.2 million.
The administration of Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker, who signed the bill legalizing marijuana last summer, hailed the first month of sales as a triumph of the new law.
“The successful launch of the Illinois legal cannabis industry represents new opportunities for entrepreneurs and the very communities that have historically been harmed by the failed war on drugs,” said Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s senior advisor for cannabis control. “The administration is dedicated to providing multiple points of entry into this new industry, from dispensary owners to transporters, to ensure legalization is equitable and accessible for all Illinoisans.”
Despite A Slight Decrease, Sales Are Going Strong
Sales in February dipped slightly, totalling nearly $35 million, but Bethany Gomez, managing director of cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, told the Chicago Tribune that it still signals a strong market.
“There is definitely sustained demand here,” Gomez told the Tribune. “This is not just a novelty thing. … People are willing to wait in line for hours consistently for this, despite a terrible retail experience and terrible product selection.
The new law isn’t just good news for local economies and residents hoping to score an easy toke. It’s also resulted in the pardons for thousands of Illinois residents previously hit with non-violent cannabis-related convictions. The expungement provision in the law could ultimately clear the records of hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents.
On New Year’s Eve, Pritzker issued more than 11,000 such pardons that were sent to the attorney general’s office.
“We are ending the 50-year-long war on cannabis,” Pritzker said at the time. “We are restoring rights to tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core.”