Potheads in Illinois eager to buy weed and receive a receipt, just like they would for any other product, spent a total of $3.2 million at dispensaries on New Years Day, the first day of legal sales in the state. Total sales in Illinois tie the first-day cannabis sales record set in Oregon in 2015.
Illinois is the eleventh state to legalize cannabis for adult use, and only the second Midwestern state after Michigan to legalize. Both states had robust medical cannabis sales prior to legalizing adult use cannabis.
The Brightfield Group, which specializes in cannabis market analysis, projects $344 million in Illinois cannabis sales in 2020, a number that looks quite modest given that first day sales were nearly one percent of that. The cannabis industry employs an estimated 5,700 people in Illinois now but that is expected to grow more than ten-fold to 63,000 by 2025. Every state to legalize cannabis, particularly for adult use, has enjoyed an uptick in investment and business formation.
The tax revenues from the first day of sales were not released, as the state issues quarterly reports, but must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Illinois collects state taxes based on THC content, with higher concentrations (pun unintended by inevitable) taxed more. Additionally, municipalities can impose a 3 percent local tax on gross sales.
The city of Evanston has announced it will use its sales tax revenue to create a reparations fund for people who were arrested for marijuana crimes prior to legalization, according to The Daily Northwestern.
The Illinois cannabis legalization statute provided for a sweeping expungement of marijuana arrest records that ultimately could mean a clean criminal record for up to 800,000 people.