Marijuana sales in Illinois continue to hum along, three months in the state’s nascent adult-use cannabis program.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced Thursday that weed sales in March totaled $35,902,543.22, bringing the three-month sales total to more than $110 million since the program kicked off on New Year’s Day.
“Three straight months of consistent adult use cannabis sales show there is – and will continue to be – strong support and demand from consumers,” Toi Hutchinson, Senior advisor for cannabis control to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, said in a press release.
The March sales numbers were up slightly from last month, but still lower than the roughly $39 million generated in January, the program’s first month. Pritzker signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults last summer, a measure that not only paved the way for regulated sales, but also has resulted in the pardons for thousands of Illinois residents previously hit with non-violent cannabis-related convictions. The expungement provision in the law could ultimately clear the records of hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents. On New Year’s Eve, Pritzker issued more than 11,000 such pardons that were sent to the attorney general’s office.
Cannabis Proving To Be Essential
Pritzker signed an executive order last month classifying medical and recreational dispensaries as essential businesses, which enable them to stay open amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional also unveiled new rules allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to conduct curbside sales throughout March as a way to limit human interaction during the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, Hutchinson said that “curbside pickup will remain an option for medical patients through April 30th.”
The pandemic has prompted one Illinois lawmaker to push Pritzker to accelerate the legalization of marijuana deliveries in the state. Sonya Harper, a Democratic state House representative from Chicago, introduced a bill in February that would open the door for both medical and recreational cannabis customers to receive their products via delivery. This week, Harper called on Pritzker to make that a reality through an executive order.