For the sixth consecutive month, Illinois has crushed yet another cannabis sales record, having reached a $500-million-worth benchmark of legal marijuana products that have been bought since the program was launched at the start of this year. Illinois has shown that its marijuana market is not only pandemic proof but also recession proof.
Last month, adults bought 1,557,880 cannabis products worth $75,278,200 cumulatively. That’s almost $8 million more than sales in September and about twice the sales recorded in January. These figures do not include purchases made through the state’s medical marijuana program. Based on this, to say the strides made in the market weren’t in the least impressive would be a blatant lie.
It is estimated that about $21 million of these recorded sales came from out-of-state tourists while roughly $55 million in purchases came from in-state residents. In addition, state officials announced in October that the state had surpassed $100 million in revenue due to the high sales. The revenue is being used to fund restorative justice programs and local governments.
Illinois state officials stated that the tax revenue from the market will be reinvested in communities that have been most affected by the drug war. Almost 25% of the tax revenue collected has been designated for restorative justice grants, and other funds will be used to support mental health and substance misuse treatment programs. In May, the state had announced that it would be making nearly $31 million in social equity grants available to communities that had been identified as economically distressed.
Additionally, before the state implemented its cannabis system, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 individuals with prior marijuana convictions. The governor also revealed in October that he would be granting more acts of cannabis clemency in the coming months. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the recent sales numbers also strengthen the argument made by pro-reform lawmakers in various states.
However, not all parties are excited about this increase in sales. An alliance of state medical societies released a joint statement last week that criticized the efforts to legalize cannabis. These statements noted that the various societies appreciated the economic challenges states face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but urged against legalization of cannabis as a way to address these challenges.
The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) is one cannabis sector player you should watch. The company started out providing premium alkaline water, and it has now set its sights on adding topical and ingestible hemp-infused products to its portfolio.
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