Illinois Legislature Passes New Bill to Expand Cannabis Licensing

More than 100 additional recreational marijuana dispensaries will be coming to Illinois under a bill approved by state lawmakers last week. The measure, HB 1443, received nearly unanimous approval from the state Senate on Friday after being passed by a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.


Illinois House Passes Legislation That Would Give Minority Entrepreneurs Better Shot At Entering Cannabis Business

Minority entrepreneurs may soon have a better shot at getting into the marijuana industry, thanks to legislation that just passed the Illinois House of Representatives.

HB 1443 creates more than 100 new pot shop licenses, and gives people of color a fair shot at winning them during the lottery process.

It was introduced by state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago).


Illinoisans push for more equitable cannabis industry

Marijuana is now a billion-dollar industry in Illinois, but not everyone is getting a slice of the pie.

When the state legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2019, 75 "social equity" dispensary licenses were set up for people in communities hardest hit by the war on drugs.

After more than 4,000 people applied, only 21 were approved.

“The law wasn’t intended to have it dominated and monopolized by a few people that have millions and millions of dollars," State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said.

The state’s last report on dispensary demographics from June 2020 shows that only 14% of those who own or partially own a dispensary are women. Even more stark is that only 6% are people of color, including exactly one African-American.


Illinois Will 'Blow Past' $1 Billion In Cannabis Sales This Year, Chamber Of Commerce President Says

Illinois' cannabis industry is growing up fast with adult-use recreational cannabis sales expected to hit $1 billion by year-end.

In March alone, Illinoisans spent $110 million on weed for fun, Newsweek reported.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said one factor contributing to Illinois' explosive growth is that most neighboring states haven't legalized marijuana yet.


April Marijuana Sales in Oregon, Illinois Set New Highs

The pandemic might be fading in the U.S., but Americans are still toking up in record numbers. Two states where recreational marijuana is permitted just published April sales numbers, and the results provided a nice contact high for the cannabis industry.

In Oregon, the first state to decriminalize cannabis (before making it fully legal many years later), total weed sales topped $110.5 million in April, setting a new monthly record and exceeding $110 million for the first time. That's saying something in a market that has effectively been open only since 2016.

Illinois, meanwhile, also set a fresh monthly all-time record in April, as sales in that state hit $115 million.


Illinois hits new monthly record for recreational marijuana sales at nearly $115 million in April

Recreational marijuana sales in April blew away a short-lived monthly record in Illinois, as revenues totaled nearly $115 million.

Revenue was up nearly $6 million from the previous record in March, and more than double the average monthly total in 2020, the state’s first year of recreational marijuana sales, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

In April, the state’s 110 dispensaries sold nearly 2.5 million recreational weed products, with in-state residents spending about $80 million and out-of-state customers accounting for $35 million, according to totals released Monday.

Illinois has yet to release medical marijuana sales for April.


Illinois Makes More Money from Cannabis Taxes than It Does from Liquor Taxes

When Illinois lawmakers approved recreational cannabis in 2019, they did so hoping that it would prove popular enough to generate taxes to help offset state debt and fund a variety of programs. So far, Illinois residents have come through for them in a big way.

Recreational cannabis has proven extremely popular in Illinois. Even with the pandemic resulting in lockdowns for many months in 2020, marijuana taxes raked in $174.8 million for the state.


More Illinois cannabis workers fighting to unionize

Cannabis workers in the St. Louis Metro East area say it's time to unionize. They're fighting for better working conditions, more job opportunities, and a commitment to improve local communities.

Ian Spaeth is a cannabis worker at the dispensary Beyond Hello in Sauget, Illinois. The dispensary is owned by Jushi Holdings and operates 17 stores across the country, including four in Illinois. Spaeth has worked in the cannabis industry for about ten years and is also one of the more vocal employees that wants to unionize.

"I absolutely love my job," said Spaeth. "I personally really like Jushi. I love seeing them grow, and I hope that they decide to let us grow with them."


The cannabis tourist's guide to legal US states

As more and more states decriminalize cannabis and legalize recreational use for adults, cannabis tourism is on the rise. Much as one might sample Seattle's famous coffee scene or check out the craft beer in hop capitals like Denver, Colorado and Bend, Oregon, visitors to legal states are dipping a toe into the local culture and sampling regional varietals of bud.

But knowing what the rules about purchasing and consuming cannabis are in different states can be a little tricky. Just in the past year, a slew of new states have sprung for legal cannabis legislation, including Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Mexico. 


Illinois generates 5th most tax revenue for marijuana sales

A recent study reported that Illinois generated $175 million in marijuana sales taxes in 2020, the fifth most in the nation.

Currently, 16 states and Washington, D.C., have now fully legalized marijuana, and 11 have retail sales taxes, according to the study released by U.S. Drug Test Centers. Also, adult and youth usage of marijuana also increased in 2020.

Illinois originally awarded 75 licenses for marijuana dispensaries in 2020, and there is a proposed bill that would more than double the number of licenses and give the poor and minorities a chance to enter the industry after being excluded in the first round, according to published reports.


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