The recreational marijuana market in Illinois seems to be getting over the dip it experienced at the beginning of the year, state records show. According to figures released by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), a total of $132 million was registered from the adult-use cannabis sales made during the month of April.
After enjoying strong sales toward the end of last year, there was an unexplained slump in the sales reported during January and February this year. However, the records for March and April indicate that the slump may be a thing of the past and the sector is looking up again.
According to the IDFPR, state residents bought recreational marijuana products worth nearly $91 million while adults from out of state bought products worth approximately $41 million. In all, 3,102,233 recreational marijuana products were sold to garner the $132 million in sales for the month of April. This figure only covers recreational marijuana sales since the products sold as medical marijuana products are overseen by a different state agency which releases its own reports.
From the record-breaking $1.4 billion in sales of recreational cannabis registered last year, the state collected a little more than $100 million in marijuana tax when compared to the total taxes the state collected from the sale of alcohol. It is therefore baffling that after a year that ended so strongly, there was a dip as 2022 got underway.
It is also not yet clear why March and April registered improved month-on-month sales. Some say that the 4/20 holiday may have had something to do with the resurgence, but since this holiday happens in April, how does it explain the improved numbers in March?
That aside, the state is making good on its promise to deploy some of the monies collected as marijuana taxes in programs geared to help communities that were hard hit by the futile drug war. For example, state officials published an advert back in December revealing that $45 million was available for grants and interested applicants could start submitting their expression of interest in accessing some of these funds.
This second round of funding is in line with R3 program, which requires one-quarter of all the money collected as recreational cannabis tax be allocated to helping disadvantaged individuals and communities through the provision of youth development, legal aid and actual financial support as well as community reentry.
In addition to this funding, Gov. Jay Robert (JB) Pritzker announced in 2020 that more than one-half a million pardons and expungements related to minor cannabis offenses had been handled and concluded by his office.
Such positive strides recorded in states with legal marijuana markets and licensed actors such as American Cannabis Partners make a strong case for pursuing legalization at the federal level so that these benefits can be replicated throughout the country.
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