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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Mitchell Armentrout

High times for Illinois pot industry as annual recreational sales top $1.6 billion

Recreational weed products on display at a Sunnyside dispensary at 436 N. Clark St. in May of 2020. Sales statewide topped $1.6 billion in 2023. (Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times)

Illinois pot shops sold more than $1.6 billion worth of recreational marijuana in 2023, the latest record year for the state’s budding industry. 

That’s a 5% increase from licensed adult-use cannabis sales in 2022, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

Illinoisans bought more joints, gummies, flower and other weed products overall, too —  42,124,741 of them, to be exact — a 15% jump from the previous year, officials said. 

The only number harshing Illinois’s reefer revenue buzz was a 14% decline in sales to out-of-state customers, who spent $418 million. Officials blamed burgeoning weed sales in nearby states that have also legalized recreational cannabis, such as Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota. 

But Illinois’ decline in sales to visitors was offset by a 14% jump in sales to in-state residents, who spent more than $1.2 billion on pot — another record. 

Sales approached $154 million in December, an all-time monthly high. 

The annual figures don’t include an additional $324 million-plus spent on medicinal marijuana last year, according to state records. 

The recreational sales generated $417.6 million in state tax revenue, officials said. 

“From day one, my administration has put equity first to build the most accessible cannabis industry in the nation,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “Our work will continue to repair past harm while providing opportunities for communities across the state and creating a more prosperous future.”

There are 177 recreational dispensaries statewide, including 67 “social equity” dispensaries that were prioritized for racial diversity in their ownership, among other criteria. 

Corporate pot giants still dominate the market after a troubled licensing rollout delayed much of Pritkzer’s social equity initiative. 

Another 188 social-equity applicants are in the process of being licensed.

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