A report released earlier this week by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in the state of Illinois shows that the state recorded about $131 million in legal recreational marijuana purchases in March.
The state broke its annual record for marijuana sales last year, with more than $1.4 billion in cannabis being sold. However, cannabis product purchases reduced during the first two months of this year.
This new figure makes this the state’s second-highest recorded sales for adult-use cannabis since the industry’s opening in 2020. In the report, the department stated that last month, about $90.3 million in adult-use marijuana sales was generated from consumers who are also residents in the state, with roughly $40.7 million coming from nonresidents. It should be noted that these totals don’t include the sale of medical marijuana products because they are reported by another state agency.
State data shows that last year, Illinois generated roughly $100 million more in tax revenue from the sale of adult-use cannabis than it did from alcohol. The state is using a portion of this revenue to fund equity initiatives in the state. For instance, officials announced last year that applications for new grants, which would be funded by marijuana tax revenue, were open. These grants will support programs to reinvest in the communities that were disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
This is the second time funds will be issued through the Restore, Reinvest and Renew program, which was set up under the state’s adult-use marijuana legalization policy. The law stipulates that 25% of cannabis tax revenue be allocated to that fund for use in providing services such as financial support, community re-entry, youth development and legal aid to disadvantaged individuals.
In July last year, officials in the state allocated $3.5 million in marijuana-generated funds toward efforts to decrease violence via street-intervention programs. In addition to allocating funds, the state’s governor, J.B. Pritzker, announced that his office had processed more than half a million pardons and expungements for individuals with low-level marijuana convictions on their records. The state also set up an initiative to help residents with prior cannabis convictions acquire legal aid to have their records expunged.
Meanwhile, a Senate committee in the state recently debated a measure that would protect workers from losing their jobs for using marijuana in their free time. This bill will prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants or firing their workers for testing positive for cannabis use.
The millions recorded in cannabis sales in Illinois in March alone suggest that sector players such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) have earned the trust of consumers, which may be why marijuana products are flying off the shelves.
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