Illinois recreational pot sales top $1 billion, blowing past last year’s totals with two months left in 2021

October saw more than $123 million in recreational cannabis sales to reach $1.12 billion sales in the first 10 months of the year.

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A marijuana plant.

Niranjan Shrestha, AP Photos

Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois surpassed $1 billion last month, blowing last year’s 12-month total sales of $669 million out of the water.

October recorded over $123 million in sales of recreational pot. That pushes the year-to-date total for 2021 to $1.12 billion for recreational marijuana sales alone, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Sales figures could be even higher if not for a Cook County court order blocking the issuance of licensed permits to 185 dispensaries that won the state’s licensing lottery, which ended in August. Legal battles have thus far kept the winning dispensaries in limbo.

The latest in the convoluted dispensary licensing process, on Sept. 3, state officials announced that a fourth lottery for licenses will now be held to give certain applicant groups a chance to win additional permits after they were wrongfully excluded from drawings in an earlier lottery. 

Dispensaries have also sold just shy of $300 million in medical marijuana products in the first nine months of the year; state officials have yet to release October’s medical cannabis sales figures. In 2020, it took 10 months for medical marijuana sales to reach a similar benchmark.

October marks the second-highest monthly sales since cannabis was legalized in January of 2020 for recreational use for those 21 and older in Illinois, second only to this past July, when sales reached nearly $127.8 million. Each of the past four months have recorded more than $120 million in recreational marijuana sales. About two-thirds of October’s recreational pot sales were to in-state customers.

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