Adult-use cannabis sales took a slight downturn last month in Illinois, from a record high of almost $144 million in December to just under $128 million in January, according to state data.
Last month, Illinois cannabis retailers sold just over 3 million units of cannabis products, for a grand total of $127.9 million in sales. The vast majority – $91.8 million – went to in-state residents, while another $36.1 million worth of marijuana was sold to out-of-state visitors.
In December, however, Illinois residents bought $102 million worth of marijuana, and out-of-state visitors purchased an additional $41 million. The recreational sales total for 2022 was $1.5 billion.
Those figures are only for recreational cannabis sales, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Medical marijuana sales are tracked by the Department of Public Health, but that agency has not provided an update for January yet.
Social Equity Under Review
The dip in sales came just before Illinois state lawmakers announced that they’re forming a new working group to tackle marijuana industry issues, including the possible expansion of the state’s social equity program, the Rockford Register Star reported.
The working group, which is being led by Chicago Democrat La Shawn Ford, is focused on ensuring the success of social equity cannabis companies, the Register Star reported, and that includes combing through more than two dozen marijuana-related bills that have already been introduced at the state capitol in Springfield.
It also means liaising with various state agencies to streamline industry regulations and make tweaks where appropriate.
Ford, who helped spearhead the state law that created the social equity program in 2019, said there’s more work to be done to ensure the program is successfully implemented.
“We have to make sure that we legislate with the industry because they are the investors,” Ford told the Register Star. “If we could empower the businesses, it’s going to mean more revenue, and we’re going to realize what we intended for the (cannabis legalization) law to do. And that is increase employment, develop communities, reduce crime in the state.”
Two marijuana trade groups – the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois and the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition – also have significant changes they want to see made to the rules governing the industry, including allowing for curbside pickup and drive-thru windows at retail shops, expanding the craft grow side of the industry, creating consumption lounge licenses, and unifying industry oversight into a single state agency.