Boost expected for Illinois cannabis sales this year

Boost expected for Illinois cannabis sales this year

The state reported slower sales in 2023.

This story was republished with permission from Crain’s Chicago and written by John Pletz

Illinois marijuana sales are expected to grow at a faster rate this year after slow growth in 2023.

Cannabis research firm Whitney Economics is forecasting combined recreational and medical cannabis sales of $2.2 billion this year, up from $1.96 billion in 2023. Recreational products account for 83% of the Illinois market.

Overall sales in the state should grow 11.5% this year, compared with 2.8% in 2023, the firm says. Nationally, cannabis sales are expected to rise 9.1% to $31.4 billion. If the forecast pans out, it will mean more tax dollars for Illinois, which takes in about a half-billion dollars from marijuana sales.

The number of retail outlets in Illinois increased by more than half last year to 177 locations, but many opened later in the year. Wholesale and retail prices also dropped in the state, as they did elsewhere.

More stores are likely to open this year as the winners of new retail licenses race to meet a July deadline to find locations for dispensaries and build them out.

“There was kind of anemic growth in 2023,” says Beau Whitney, founder of the research firm based in Portland, Oregon. “But when you have greater access, you get greater participation (purchases).”

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