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Illinois recreational cannabis sales set record in December and hit $1.38 billion for the year, more than doubling 2020

Illinois set a record for recreational cannabis sales in December 2021, more than doubling the amount from December 2020.

According to The Chicago Tribune:

Chicago missed out on a traditional white Christmas, but robust weed sales made for a green holiday season across the state.

Recreational cannabis sales hit a new high in December at nearly $138 million, up 14% from the previous month, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The December total smashes the previous record set in July, when Illinois recreational weed sales hit $128 million, helped by a late-month boost from attendees at the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, industry analysts said.

For the year, Illinois recreational sales reached nearly $1.38 billion, more than doubling the total from 2020, the first year of legal recreational marijuana sales in the state. Illinois legalized medical marijuana sales in 2015.

The state’s 110 dispensaries sold more than 30 million weed products during 2021, with nearly a third of the recreational cannabis revenues generated by out-of-state customers, according to the state.

Illinois has yet to release medical marijuana sales for December, but patients spent $362 million on prescribed products through 11 months, putting the state on track to generate nearly $1.8 billion in total retail cannabis sales for 2021.

Sales have been ramping up since Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in January 2020. The state generated $1.03 billion in total cannabis sales during 2020, including $669 million in recreational weed and more than $366 million in medical sales.

Illinois is one of 18 states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, which is still prohibited by federal law. But public sentiment and political pressure for federal decriminalization are mounting as more states legalize cannabis, fueling rapid growth of the nascent industry.

Cannabis research firm Headset projects legal U.S. weed sales to surpass $30 billion this year and reach $45.8 billion by 2025. Illinois is projected to generate $2.55 billion in annual cannabis sales by 2025, according to Headset.

Last summer, Illinois awarded 185 new recreational dispensary licenses through three lotteries with a focus on social equity applicants, but the rollout has been delayed by lawsuits challenging the process in Cook County Circuit Court.

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