Adult-use cannabis retailers in Illinois sold a record monthly amount of legal marijuana in November—to Illinoisans, at least.
In terms of overall sales including those to out-of-state residents, last month saw the fifth-highest monthly figure since stores opened in January 2020.
Total sales of recreational marijuana in Illinois totaled $139.1 million in November, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) reported on Monday. Of that, $105.5 million was sold to residents of the state, the agency said, and another $33.6 million was purchased by visitors. The figures do not include taxes.
State-licensed retailers also sold more individual adult-use marijuana products in November than ever before, moving 3.77 million items—up from a record 3.74 million items in the prior month.
Medical marijuana sales for the state have not yet been updated for November. In October, according to the latest numbers from the Medical Cannabis Patient Program, dispensaries sold $26.2 million worth of medical marijuana products, including $12.4 million worth of dry flower and $13.8 million in concentrates and infused products.
While records indicate that Illinois consumers are paying considerably more than cannabis purchasers in many other legal states, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) recently downplayed the steep prices, noting the industry’s steady growth and considerable sales to out-of-state residents.
State officials also said in a new annual report said that state-legal marijuana sales had seen “unprecedented” growth in fiscal year 2023, with the opening of 28 new retailers and more than $1.5 billion in total retail sales.
All told, the legal cannabis industry brought in about $451.9 million for the state in fiscal year 2023, which ran from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, according to separate numbers from the Department of Revenue. As in past years, Illinois made significantly more revenue from cannabis than from alcohol, which brought in about $316.3 million during the same period.
Over the entire fiscal year, 200 conditional licenses were issued. In December 2022, the department also finalized rules for a new Social Equity Criteria Lottery, aimed at prioritizing people who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. More than 2,600 individuals applied for 55 new social equity dispensary licenses.
The vast majority of newly issued licenses were in Cook County, the state’s most populous.
Another recent report, from the state’s Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer, indicated that diversity numbers in the marijuana industry are up significantly since adult-use sales began—a sign that efforts in recent years to prioritize social equity license applicants is making a measurable impact.
When recreational marijuana sales began in 2020, the “initial businesses were 100% majority White owned and only one majority woman-owned businesses,” said the office’s diversity survey report. Since then, measures of diversity have improved markedly.
Among the key changes, Black-owned companies increased from 0 percent to 27 percent of the market during the period from 2020 to 2023, while Latino/a or Hispanic-owned companies climbed from 0 percent to 5 percent. Asian-owned companies, went from 0 percent to 3 percent. Women-owned businesses, meanwhile, now make up 16 percent of licensed cannabis companies.
Small craft cannabis growers, however, are reportedly struggling despite millions in state aid.