Illinois, the 11th U.S. state to legalize weed has kicked off the new decade by commencing cannabis sales in over 35 stores.
Six months ago, the Illinois House passed HB 1438 which legalized cannabis possession, sale and consumption for adults 21 and older. At the time, Governor J.B. Pritzker stated:
"The state of Illinois just made history, legalizing adult-use cannabis with the most equity-centric approach in the nation. This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunities in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance."
Now, as of January 1st, 2020, the New Year has officially started for Illinois, as the state has begun its cannabis sales.
Adults aged 21 and older can now visit licensed dealers and purchase up to 30 grams of flower, and edibles such as chocolates, cookies, and gummies from 37 state-sanctioned stores in Illinois.
The day went off without any serious hiccups, with no arrests, hospitalizations or serious incidents related to cannabis reported to Chicago Police. After the day ended, it was estimated that nearly 80,000 people had purchased marijuana products, bringing in roughly $3.2 million for dispensary owners across the state.
A Brightfield Group analyst, Andy Seeger has stated that "$3 million in the first day is a lot," and sales may only increase as time goes on. Comparatively, Colorado only brought in $5 million after its first week of cannabis legalization.
"Demand will continue to increase for the next year and a half or two years at least as people enter the market, get more comfortable, the stigma is removed or they sample products while out with other people," Seeger said.
"It's going to be up to supply to really meet that."
Following on from the success of Illinois' first day of cannabis legalization, Toi Hutchinson, Governor J.B. Pritzker's senior adviser stated that "a significant portion of these [tax] dollars will go directly into this community reinvestment fund, so we can continue to rebuild communities that have been hardest hit by the war on drugs," Hutchinson said.
"Sales are great but let's never lose sight on the impact that we're having on families around this state."
Furthermore, Illinois' governor issued more than 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on Tuesday, with officials estimating that there are still over 116,000 convictions involving 30 grams or less of marijuana which are eligible for pardons under the new law.
Though as is often the case with cannabis legalization, reports quickly emerged that lines were long, prices were high, and cannabis supplies were low.
Throughout the state, lines outside of Cresco Labs' Sunnyside dispensaries were comprised of hundreds of people, with some reporting that marijuana prices were "higher than the black market."
Only time will tell whether prices will continue to drop in Illinois, as they have in Canada, assuming that stigma surrounding cannabis continues to wash away and shopkeepers figure out their supply sweet-spot.
Though judging by the success of Illinois' first day of cannabis legalization, it's looking like the future is bright for the 11th U.S. state to legalize pot.
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