Cannabis Meets Lollapalooza, First Festival Since Illinois' Legalization

Lollapalooza was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the famous music festival is back at Grant Park this year, starting tomorrow and ending on Sunday. Not only is this the festival’s first post-COVID comeback, after being canceled last year, but also the decades-old event’s first run since Illinois’ adult cannabis market took off in 2020. 

Chicago cannabis sales expected to increase as Lollapalooza kicks off tomorrow 

According to cannabis market research firm, BDSA, out-of-state travelers coming to Lollapalooza is expected to boost dispensary sales in Chicago. 

If you’re not familiar with the event, we’ll do our best to paint a picture of the massive music festival. Lollapalooza happens every year in Chicago, at Grant Park. In 2019, 400,000 people attended Lollapalooza, along with a few medical transports and arrests. Unfortunately, one person also died, which drew negative criticism towards the event’s safety protocols as another festival goer also died the year prior. Needless to say, the event brings a large crowd and plenty of room for cannabis sales to soar. 

Drug use is popular at Lollapalooza

Now that cannabis can be purchased legally in Illinois, one might wonder if the consumption of illegal, potentially unsafe drugs will decrease at the festival. The details surrounding the 2019 Lollapalooza death weren’t released, but the 2018 death of a 16-year-old was confirmed to be an overdose. Among the top five preferred drugs at Lollapalooza, alongside smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol, are MDMA, cocaine, and LSD, according to a survey conducted by global travel magazine, Time Out. One third of those surveyed have smoked cannabis in Grant Park, while more than 70% drank alcohol. 

Opt for vaping or eating edibles

Don’t let this give you any ideas. Smoking cannabis is prohibited per Grant Park’s rules, but more discrete methods of consumption like vaping and eating edibles will still be popular and play a major role at the festival. BDSA says 38% of consumers report taking cannabis gummies for their convenience. Just be mindful of the summer temperature! Gummies might melt into a jelly-filled mess or lose cannabinoids under extreme heat, so leave excess gummies at home or in your hotel room. 

Vape sales are likely to increase

Vape sales saw a small jump during Lollapalooza in 2019, with Friday, August 2nd, recording the highest dollar sales for vapes that month. Dispensaries in the River North and West Loop areas, like Sunnyside, Modern Cannabis (MOCA), and Dispensary 33 are likely to see the biggest growth in sales from the festival. 

According to BDSA, 30% of Illinois consumers take cannabis when going out or taking part in high-energy activities, while 36% of consumers say cannabis plays a role in celebrations or important events. 

Chicago’s sweet history 

You may or may not know Illinois’ Windy City, Chicago, has a rich candy making history. It’s been considered the “candy capital of the world” since the late 1800s. Iconic brands like Tootsie Rolls, Brach’s, Wrigley Gum, Fannie May, and Mars Candy all have Chicago roots. If they play their cards right, the city already has their foot in the cannabis edibles door. 

Chicago-based Cresco Labs is dominating the edibles market, churning out batches and batches of gummies and other cannabis edibles for Illinois dispensary shelves. It’s a good market to join. According to Chicago-based Brightfield Group, edibles made up 21% of cannabis sales last year, trailing behind consumers’ all-time favorite category: flower. The Brightfield Group predicts edibles will grow 20% annually through 2025, compared to flower growing 15% over the same period of time. The cannabis industry’s total sales are expected to reach $41 billion by 2026. 

Lollapalooza will be held starting tomorrow, July 29th, to Sunday, August 1st in Chicago’s Grant Park. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is required to attend. 

Kaitlin Domangue

Kaitlin is a 23-year-old wife and mom to three children. She is a financial reporter for the Green Market Report and a freelance writer for other businesses in the cannabis space.


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