Topline: Illinois said $3.2 million worth of legal marijuana was sold on Tuesday, the first day the drug could legally be purchased for recreational use in the state, as a new law went into effect that could also clear the records of hundreds of thousands of people with arrest records.
- Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that the cash was generated from over 77,000 transactions.
- Cannabis can be purchased without a prescription from a state-approved dispensary by anyone 21 years or older—and nonresidents are allowed to buy the drug, but in smaller quantities than residents, according to the legislation.
- The Chicago Tribune reported that state Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton was seen purchasing cannabis gummies from a dispensary, receiving applause from customers as she completed her sale.
- Illinois is the eleventh state (plus D.C.) to legalize cannabis in the U.S., and Bloomberg reported that the state expects to eventually fetch between $2 billion and $4 billion in annual sales.
- Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has also pardoned over 11,000 people with prior marijuana convictions as part of the new law, and over 700,000 people who have been arrested because of the drug could have those records forgiven as well.
Crucial quote: “[Wednesday] was the end of prohibition and the beginning of how we how we hope to grow a new industry in Illinois,” Toi Hutchison, the state’s cannabis czar, told Crain’s Chicago Business.
Key background: Illinois is the country’s sixth most populated state, according to Bloomberg, and bordered by states where marijuana is still illegal. Illinois’ legalization effort could push those states to follow suit with their own laws. According to analysts, illicit sales of marijuana in Illinois are expected to outpace legal sales through 2024. However, 30% of legal sales will go toward tax revenue for the state, while municipalities get 3%, according to Crain’s.