Illinois saw record recreational cannabis sales of $1.55 billion in 2022, a jump of 12% from the previous year — despite delays in opening new stores and some signs the market had reached a plateau.
Monthly sales had flattened out recently around $130 million until the annual holiday increase saw a record of nearly $144 million in December, state records showed.
Overall, sales continued an upward trend, more than doubling over 2020, the first year of legalized recreational marijuana in the state.
Sales to out-of-state residents again accounted for nearly one-third of purchases, at $479 million.
Medical marijuana sales stood at $322 million through November, slightly lower than the amount sold a year previously, indicating the medical market has peaked.
The sales meant continued growth in tax revenue for the state — $435 million in fiscal 2022, which ended June 30. Of those proceeds, 25% go to neighborhood reinvestment programs, 20% to substance abuse, prevention and mental health, 8% for crime prevention and 45% to the state budget.
There are currently 113 adult-use cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, including just the first three “social equity” dispensaries that opened their doors in 2022. Social equity licensees generally have had past low-level cannabis arrests or lived in low-income areas. Nearly 200 more such stores are licensed to open, but many have had trouble securing capital to get started.
One reason sales have increased is that despite falling prices nationwide, the cost of legal cannabis in Illinois, with only 21 licensed full-sized growing sites, remains among the highest in the nation.