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Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois surge by $2.6 million amid COVID-19 lockdown

Chicago is completely empty due to the government shutdown caused the pandemic of Coronavirus

A recent report reveals that recreational marijuana sales in Illinois went up by $2.6 million in April compared to the total sales in March. The announcement made by state regulators on Monday confirmed April was Illinois’ highest month of recreational marijuana sales since its legalization. Coincidentally, the state also witnessed a full-month stay-at-home order in April, announced by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

High sales in April

The total marijuana sales in April surpassed that of March and February, with dispensaries selling almost 819,000 items. Customers also spent $37.26 million on cannabis, out of which $29.74 million came specifically from people with Illinois State identity, as revealed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Perhaps the Coronavirus stay-at-home order could have had some effect on sales to buyers from other states. Out-of-state buyers registered more than $7.52 million worth of cannabis in April, almost $1.3 million more than March sales. Besides, data from the Illinois Department of Revenue reveals that April sales and excise taxes from cannabis consumers surged by 25 percent of pre-tax spending, which is not included in the spending totals. 

Recreational marijuana smoking illinois

During the stay-at-home order, cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers remained open, following the Governor’s order that classified the cannabis industry among the “essential” businesses. According to IDFPR, the order covered both medical and recreational marijuana sales in a bid to maintain sufficient cannabis supply for patients during the pandemic. So far, the order has been slightly modified and remains in force until May 30.

Off-site sales remain prohibited

Before the lockdown order, IDFPR relaxed the rules to allow streetwise sales of medical cannabis. These rules remain in force until May 30. However, the new rules don’t cover recreational marijuana sales and off-site sales are still prohibited.

Our top priority is to ensure consumers are safe when they go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis. The steps we’ve taken to increase social distancing at dispensaries are accomplishing that, while also enabling this new industry to continue to grow, said Toi Hutchinson, who is the Governor’s senior advisor for cannabis control.

Last year, Illinois signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which sanctioned the retail sale of recreational marijuana within the state. In a statement last week, Hutchinson said the state administration is committed to developing a legal cannabis industry in line with the state’s population. The issuance of new licenses, which was to begin on May 1, has been deferred until the end of the Coronavirus pandemic. The IDFPR officials will announce a new date.

“We recognize that countless entrepreneurs were looking forward to May 1 and the next step it represented for Illinois’ adult-use cannabis industry. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the application review process. This executive order will help ensure that we continue to build out this industry in a deliberate and equity-centric manner,” Hutchinson said last week.

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Jonathan Sanders

Jonathan is a business writer and a dedicated cannabis enthusiast from Chicago, IL. He is mainly focused on cannabis business news and retail news from around the world.

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