Illinois Weed Sales On Pace To Top $1 Billion In 2020

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The prediction came as the state announced another $75 million in recreational sales took place in November, similar to the record haul in October.

November sales of recreational weed surpassed $75 million for a second straight month, and one researcher believes total sales of legal marijuana — including medical cannabis — could surpass $1 billion by the time 2020 is over.

The recreational total for last month, $75.19 million, was only slightly lower than the record set in October, $75.28 million.

Since marijuana was fully legalized at the start of this year, dispensaries across the state have now sold more than $580 million worth of recreational pot, according to data maintained by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.

While state officials haven’t released November’s medical cannabis sales figures, dispensaries have already unloaded over $300 million in medical weed over the first 10 months of this year.

Kay Tamillow, the research director for the Brightfield Group, a Loop-based firm that analyzes the cannabis industry, noted that demand for weed “remains strong” while predicting that Illinois will ultimately notch more than $1 billion in total pot sales by year’s end. That’s notable given that the state’s rollout of adult-use sales has been marred by the coronavirus pandemic, supply issues and an ongoing licensing imbroglio that’s prevented the state from issuing 75 additional pot shop licenses.

Month-to-month sales of recreational weed have climbed steadily since February, when pot shops recorded less than $35 million in sales, marking the weakest monthly figures so far. That was a significant drop from the $39 million in sales recorded in January, when hordes of customers flooded weed stores seeking their first taste of legal pot.

Though many marijuana shops offered deals on Green Wednesday, an unofficial industry sales event the day before Thanksgiving, November’s numbers marked just the second time sales fell from the previous month. Jason Erkes, spokesman for the Loop-based pot giant Cresco Labs, nevertheless noted that his company’s eight Sunnyside stores “continue to have record-breaking days” and attract new recreational customers.

“Weekends continue to see the strongest demand and the one less weekend in November most likely represents the near flat growth month over month,” Erkes noted.

Andy Seeger, another cannabis industry analyst, said there could be a variety of reasons for November’s slight dip in sales, including pot users possibly stocking up on product in October. At the same time, he raised the possibility that the market may have reached a “threshold” that won’t be substantially surpassed until the new permits are issued.

“A decline is never really a good thing in the first year,” he added. “It’s just not something we expect.”