Last updated: 2020-01-27 |
PUBLISHED : 27 JAN 2020 - 13:08
As Illinois joined the short-but-growing list of states that sell legal recreational marijuana, 77,000 people lined up to make a purchase, including one of the state’s top public officials. Sales reached about $3.2 million on the first day, and by the end of the week had reached $13 million.
State officials were reporting sales had reached $20 million in the first 12 days of January.
Despite the great sales totals, it’s been a rollercoaster all month. Sales were so robust in some areas that dispensaries had to close as they ran out of cannabis to sell. Andy Seeger, an analyst with cannabis research firm Brightfield Group in Chicago, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the high level of sales will eventually taper off, but that the revenue should stay steady for the long-term.
Seeger added: “Demand will continue to increase for the next year and a half or two years at least as people enter the market, get more comfortable, the stigma is removed, or they sample products while out with other people.”
The Illinois Governor Immediately Pardoned Thousands Of Low-Level Offenders
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton was part of the first day crowd, as she purchased marijuana gummy edibles at a Chicago dispensary. However, her true purpose was to highlight the social justice aspects of the new marijuana legalization laws.
Stratton called the Illinois law “a model for the entire country.” She noted that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker had pardoned 11,017 low-level cannabis arrests and convictions, adding that it’s “just the beginning. We have hundreds of thousands more who will be eligible for having their records expunged. That’s a big deal.”
However, the new law has come under attack by those who didn’t think it went far enough to help minority entrepreneurs enter the cannabis industry in Illinois. A group of Chicago city aldermen attempted to block the start of marijuana sales before the law went into effect, but failed.
The Illinois law includes setting aside $30 million in low-interest loans for qualified “social equity applicants” that would help with the startup costs for a cannabis business.
Illinois Allows Adults To Possess Cannabis -- But Remember, They Don’t In Neighboring States
There are currently 37 dispensaries operating in Illinois -- 24 of them in the Chicago area. You can buy cannabis if you have a valid state ID or driver’s license and you are over the age of 21. The law allows adults to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC in edibles.
As with other states where marijuana is legal, you cannot consume marijuana in public. You also cannot operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or give cannabis to anyone under the age of 21.
Police in neighboring states immediately had issues with people transporting marijuana out of Illinois, as Indiana police arrested a man just an hour and a half into 2020 as he sped back into Indiana with marijuana he purchased in Illinois. In Indiana, possession of marijuana is illegal.