Illinois legal weed sales total nearly $40M in 1st month

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Legal marijuana sales totaled nearly $40 million in the first month in Illinois, the state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced Monday.

Sales totaled $39,247,840.83 and dispensaries sold 972,045 items in January after Illinois legalized marijuana on the first of the year, the department said.

RELATED: Illinois Weed Legalization Guide

"The revenue from the first month is an incredible look at what the potential could possibly be," said State Senator Toi Hutchinson, Illinois Cannabis Control Senior Advisor. "I just want to build a thriving and healthy industry that protects the public safety."

Sales to Illinois residents totaled $30,611,632.22 and sales for out-of-state residents totaled $8,636,208.61. Out-of-state customers made up 22 percent of total sales in January, specifically customers from Indiana and Wisconsin, where recreational marijuana remains illegal.

"Our location in Rockford, which is closer to the Wisconsin border, we are certainly seeing some significant sales numbers," said Jason Erkes, spokesman for Cresco labs.

RELATED: Illinois Weed Legalization Guide: Will your city or town sell marijuana?

Despite a slow and methodical rollout, Illinois has one of the biggest first month sales when compared to other states.

"It's more than double than Michigan did in their first seven weeks," said State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

Cassidy, who helped craft the legalization law, said while the numbers are impressive the first month did come with some supply problems. Some rec users were shut out, and product choices for some medical marijuana patients were limited.

"Was it a perfect roll out? No," Cassidy said. "Were there hiccups? Yes. We expected all of that, but certainly we were able to take lessons from other states and prevent some of the problems we see elsewhere."

The Illinois Department of Agriculture last month released applications for cannabis infuser, craft grower and transporter licenses. The applications are available at the IDOA's website and they will begin accepting applications on February 14. All applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 16.

RELATED: Illinois medical marijuana dispensaries issued 'same-site' licenses to sell weed starting Jan. 1

While lawmakers are thrilled about the first month sales totals, the number they are most anxious to see is the tax revenue generated from those sales. Those figures are expected later in February.
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