CHICAGO — Illinois marijuana dispensaries sold nearly $40 million worth of recreational weed during the state’s first month of legal sales, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Illinois residents bought more than $30.6 million in January, while out-of-state visitor sales totaled $8.6 million, the report shows. Dispensaries sold over 970,000 products.
“The successful launch of the Illinois’ legal cannabis industry represents new opportunities for entrepreneurs and the very communities that have historically been harmed by the failed war on drugs,” said Toi Hutchinson, who is Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s senior adviser for cannabis control. “The administration is dedicated to providing multiple points of entry into this new industry, from dispensary owners to transporters, to ensure legalization is equitable and accessible for all Illinoisans.”
The pace of sales slowed considerably from the first days of legalization. On Jan. 1, operators sold $3.2 million in pot products. By Jan. 5, total sales hit $10.8 million.
Since then, customers and dispensaries have complained about a dearth of available marijuana products. Some have implemented buying restrictions or limited recreational sales to two or three days a week. Store owners are required to reserve products for medical users.
Even those with medical cards said they are having trouble getting the products.
It could take months before the supply catches up with demand, as only 21 cultivators are authorized to grow and produce marijuana products, experts said.
“Once supply and demand issues can start to be worked out, we can see much greater growth,” said Bethany Gomez, managing director of cannabis research firm Brightfield Group.
Last month, the Illinois Department of Agriculture released applications for cannabis infuser, craft grower and transporter licenses. Applications, which will be accepted starting Feb. 14, must be submitted by March 16.
Illinois was the second state in the Midwest to launch recreational pot sales. Michigan was the first.