Illinois marijuana dispensary celebrates its first 4/20 holiday since legalization of recreational pot

Tuesday felt like a party outside Nature's Treatment of Illinois in Galesburg, as the business and customers mark the unofficial holiday 4/20, celebrated annually on April 20th.  

Customers say celebrating the holiday, especially in the second year of legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois, is important to them. 


Legal weed’s first year in Chicago: High arrest rates for Black people, a boutique experience for others

Marijuana legalization has been a boyhood dream come true for Keith Fort, a recently retired stage manager for live events who said he’s glad Chicago finally joined the ranks of other weed-friendly cities he’s visited.

“Fifty years I’ve waited for legalization. I’m 66 years old,” he said.

Fort, a veteran of scores of music concerts and festivals, said he enjoys the variety and potency of products at his local dispensary, especially sweet now that he’s turned over his stage production management business to his son.


Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois smash record in March — $109 million

Illinois set a record with $109 million in sales of recreational marijuana in March — a huge 35% increase from the previous month.

Better weather no doubt played a significant role in the increase over February. But the sales reflect an escalation of the almost constant growth in sales since cannabis was legalized in the state in January 2020.

“March was set up to be a growth spurt with a longer month ... new retail stores opening across the state, and stimulus checks hitting people’s bank accounts,” Chicago-based cannabis company Cresco Labs spokesman Jason Erkes said. “The warmer weather also contributed to a very successful month of sales.”


Illinois city said to be first in the U.S. to use cannabis tax money to offer Black residents reparations

The Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois has green lit what many others have said they want — and should — do: make reparations to Black residents for the effects of slavery.


Minority-owned businesses push for Illinois cannabis equity

More than a year into the legal recreational marijuana industry in Illinois, a glaring omission remains among minority-owned businesses.

When Governor Pritzker and Springfield legislators pushed for recreational use of cannabis, they said they were doing so with an eye towards equity.  Dispensaries opened statewide on Jan. 1, 2020. Yet, 15 months later, no minority-owned cannabis businesses operate in the state.

Illinois’ cannabis business accounted for $1 billion in sales in its first year of legality. However, social equity remains a work in progress.


As Illinois weed sales boom, cannabis industry faces growing movement to unionize

The Illinois weed industry, fresh off surpassing $1 billion in revenue during its first year of recreational marijuana sales, may already be facing its “Norma Rae” moment of union awakening.

Seeking higher pay, career advancement and better protection from the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis workers from Chicago to Springfield have begun to unionize, planting a seed that could reshape the fast-growing marijuana labor landscape.


Illinois is on pace to sell over $1 billion in marijuana this year. Here are the February totals

woman in mask

The second year of recreational marijuana sales in Illinois is off to a fast start.


Through February, the state generated nearly $170 million in recreational sales, more than double the total from the first two months of 2020, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which licenses marijuana dispensaries.


Cannabis Job Growth Up 32 Percent in 2020, Despite Covid-19

hand picking up cannabis buds from a white table

Leafly’s fifth annual cannabis jobs report showed the cannabis industry to support 321,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021! An incredible number for an amazing and highly-deserving industry.

Cannabis jobs aren’t accurately reported to the Department of Labor because it’s federally illegal, so in partnership with Whitney Economics, Leafly has been filling that gap since 2017! The result is a goldmine of knowledge, and always filled with incredible cannabis job data.


Illinois hemp growers struggle with COVID-19 pandemic

person picking hemp from field

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many industries in Illinois, including the production of hemp.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture reports 2,392 acres of industrial hemp, or 87% of the acres planted, were harvested last year. That was down from just over 2,800 acres in 2019, the first year hemp was legal in Illinois.

Illinois Division of Cannabis Manager David Lakeman said the hemp industry, like many others, was affected by the pandemic.

“The industry was dealing with workforce safety challenges, there were pandemic-related impacts on the market, there were also some initial issues with processing, and all those factors combined to make it a little bit of a difficult year for the industry,” Lakeman said.


Illinois 2020 Hemp Season Statistics

hemp field

The 2020 hemp season was a challenging one for growers in the US state of Illinois, reflected in recently released harvest statistics.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) final harvest numbers for the 2020 hemp growing season indicate 2,734 acres of hemp was planted, with 2,392 acres harvested. Last year, the total acreage harvested was 2,800 – so a significant drop that has been put down to COVID-19 and market related issues along with some processing problems initially.


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