Illinois Recreational Cannabis Sales Reach Nearly $3.2 Million on Monumental First Day

Some Illinois dispensaries ran out of marijuana on day one of the state’s new recreational market, which sold nearly $3.2 million to more than 77,000 people.

January 1 was a historic day for cannabis in the state of Illinois, as the nation’s newest regulated market generated nearly $3.2 million in legal recreational cannabis sales.

In total, the first day of legal recreational cannabis access led to $3,176,256.71 in sales throughout the state. More than 77,000 transactions were processed with an average of $42 on cannabis flower, concentrates, vapes and edibles, according to local reports.

“As we start this new decade, Illinois has achieved a monumental milestone launching the legalization of cannabis in a way that includes communities that have been left out for far too long, creates good jobs, and expunges thousands of records for those who have lost out on opportunities, and ends prohibition,” said Toi Hutchinson, Illinois senior cannabis control advisor, during a Jan. 2 news conference.

According to estimates, each dispensary brought in an average of $94,000 in sales on day one. Several dispensaries ran out of product and had to temporarily close to replenish. For comparison, estimates from California’s day one sales on Jan. 1, 2018 indicate around 70,000 people purchased about $5.2 million in gross sales.

“Sales are great, but let’s never lose sight of the impact we’re having on families around the state,” Hutchinson said, noting that a significant portion of the cannabis sales will go directly to a state community investment program.

In Illinois, the cannabis licensing and application process is designed to invite diversity. Hutchinson said the program is intentionally dedicated to incentivizing equity applicants, or people who are from communities who were most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

“We wanted to be clear that if we did just what every other state did which was just to open the door, wide open, and just hand out licenses that there would only be a select number of folks who got them. This is very intentionally different,” she said.

Illinois Cannabis Reform

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law in June 2019, has been one of the country’s most outstanding cannabis reform laws to date. It was the first in the U.S. approved by a state legislative process instead of via voter referendum, and the reform law has set the bar in a commitment to investing in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.

One day prior to the launch of Illinois recreational cannabis sales, the state’s Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a pardon of more than 11,000 past low-level cannabis convictions. The pardons are part of the state’s cannabis reform program. More than 700,000 records are eligible for relief under the new cannabis law.

The new cannabis reform law includes the state’s Restore, Reinvest, and Renew program. The program directs 25 percent of cannabis revenue to “fund strategies that focus on violence prevention, re-entry and health services to areas across the state that our objectively found to be acutely suffering from the horrors of violence, bolstered by concentrated disinvestment.”

Illinois is the eleventh state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis use.

Learn more about marijuana laws in Illinois.

More Marijuana News

Follow along as we continue to track Illinois’ progress in the legal recreational marijuana market by checking back in at our cannabis news page. There you can also find articles featuring cannabis news in policy, business, and scientific research.