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Sales of adult marijuana in Illinois topped $ 120 million in August, state officials reported Thursday. This is the second-highest sales record since the state’s recreational market launched last year and the sixth consecutive month that sales have surpassed $ 100 million.

Illinois recorded $ 121,933,542 in cannabis purchases last month, with $ 81,275,830 from state residents and $ 40,657,711 from out-of-state visitors. Total sales are slightly lower than nearly $ 128 million in July, but retailers partially attributed that month’s record sales to the Lollapalooza music festival.

Data from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) revealed the evolution of the adult use market since the opening of retailers, with sales trending steadily upward, even despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Via IDFPR.

In total, consumers purchased 2,702,230 individual items of recreational marijuana in August. New The figures do not include medical cannabis sales, which are tracked separately by a different agency.

If the trend continues, the state is on track to record more than $ 1 billion in sales of adult marijuana in 2021.

This would mean a significant increase in revenue for the state. Illinois sold around $ 670 million worth of cannabis last year and collected $ 205.4 million in tax revenue.

Illinois collected more tax revenue from marijuana than alcohol for the first time in the last quarter, the state’s Revenue Department reported in May. From January to March, Illinois generated approximately $ 86,537,000 in tax revenue on adult marijuana, compared to $ 72,281,000 in alcohol sales.

In July, state officials committed $ 3.5 million in cannabis-generated funds to efforts to reduce violence through street intervention programs.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) is starting to get “tired” of hearing about these sales figures, he said in April, joking that Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) “always thank me for bringing people in Wisconsin across the border to buy marijuana” since the neighboring state has no legal market.

Illinois officials have pointed out that taxpayer dollars from all of these sales are being put to good use. For example, the state announced in January that it was distributing $ 31.5 million in marijuana tax-funded grants to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

The funds are part of the state’s Restoration, Reinvestment and Renewal (R3) program, which was established under the Illinois Cannabis Legalization Act for adults. 25% of the marijuana tax money should go into this fund and used to provide disadvantaged people with services such as legal aid, youth development, community reintegration and a financial support.

The awarding of the new grant is not all Illinois is doing to promote social fairness and redress the harms of the criminalization of cannabis. Pritzker announced in December that his office had processed more than 500,000 write-offs and pardons for people with low-level cannabis convictions on their files.

Similarly, a state-funded initiative was recently put in place to help residents convicted of marijuana obtain legal aid and other services to have their records erased.

But promoting social equity in the state’s cannabis industry has proven difficult. Illinois has faced criticism from lawyers and lawsuits from marijuana business applicants who say authorities haven’t done enough to ensure diversity among business owners Of the industry.

Pritzker signed a bill in July that aims to build on the state’s legalization law by creating more commercial licensing opportunities for cannabis to help people from disproportionately affected communities enter in the marijuana industry. Regulators are now running a series of lotteries to award additional dispensary licenses.

Meanwhile, a House committee approved a resolution earlier this year that broadly condemns the war on drugs, calling it “America’s longest and costliest war and ultimately a complete and disgraceful failure.” .

Cannabis sales are strong in US markets

For example, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reported on Wednesday that marijuana purchases have exceeded $ 2 billion since the state’s adult market launched in late 2018.

Arizona brought in about $ 21 million in tax revenue on medical and adult marijuana in July, state officials recently reported on a new webpage that makes it easier for people to track it. evolution of the industry.

California collected about $ 817 million in tax revenue from adult marijuana in fiscal year 2020-2021, state officials estimated last week. That’s 55% more cannabis revenue for state coffers than that generated in the previous fiscal year.

Recent scientific analysis of sales data in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state found that marijuana purchases “increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous two years.” .

In July alone, at least three states recorded record sales of recreational cannabis. The same goes for the Missouri medical marijuana program.

Besides Illinois, sales of adult marijuana in Maine reached $ 9.4 million in July, a 45% increase from the previous month’s record.

Michigan’s marijuana sales broke another record in July with more than $ 171 million in cannabis transactions, according to data from the state regulator. There were $ 128 million in adult sales and $ 43 million in medical cannabis purchases.

Throughout the pandemic, many states have allowed cannabis retailers to remain open – governors and regulators in several markets declaring marijuana businesses essential services – and some jurisdictions have issued emergency rules allowing curbside pickup, delivery services or other more relaxed policies to make social life easier. distancing.

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