Illinois Sells $3.2 Million Worth Of Marijuana On First Day Of Legalisation
Illinois residents quickly took advantage of the legalisation of marijuana, buying $3.2 million dollars worth of it on the first day alone.
The new law came into effect on Wednesday, January 1, meaning buyers could legally purchase the drug for recreational use and start the new year on a real high.
Cannabis can now be purchased without a prescription from state-approved dispensaries by anyone aged 21 or above. The drug can be bought by both residents and visitors, though non-residents are restricted to smaller quantities than locals.
As well as making the drug legal for recreational use, the legislation could also clear the records of those who have been arrested for using weed in a previously illegal manner.
Illinois is the eleventh state to legalise the drug for recreational use, but while there are dozens of states yet to follow in its footsteps residents have still had a long wait since legalisation first started happening in the US.
Colorado and Washington state became the first to vote to legalise marijuana for recreational purposes in 2012, so after eight years of waiting Illinois residents appeared to be impatient to get their hands on the drug.
Footage shared online shows huge queues of people apparently waiting to legally purchase weed:
As soon as the legislation came into effect, keen customers spent $3.2 million in 77,128 transactions, according to Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. It is estimated legal sales of recreational marijuana in the state could reach into the billions, far surpassing the $300 million generated from medical sales in 2019, Bloomberg reports.
The new law is expected to eventually generate between $2 billion to $4 billion in annual legal sales for Illinois, which is the sixth most populated state in the US.
However, although weed can now be purchased legally, research from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research predicts illicit sales will continue to outpace legal sales through to 2024.
Joe Caltabiano, president of medical marijuana company Cresco, spoke about the influx of customers his company received when the legislation came into effect.
The number of people who waited in line in Chicago in cold winter weather and then left with smiling faces after waiting upwards of seven hours was very reassuring that the acceptance of cannabis is real.
In a statement released by Cresco, the company said it served 3,145 customers on New Year’s Day at its five Sunnyside dispensaries in Illinois, selling 9,258 cannabis products at an average ticket price of $135.
The state is bordered by states where marijuana is still illegal, meaning potential customers may travel to Illinois to smoke weed legally. As a result, the legalisation may put pressure on surrounding states to follow suit.
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