Illinois announces nearly $11 million worth of recreational cannabis sold in first 5 days

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A store clerk makes a sale to a first costumer at Sunnyside Cannabis Dispensary on January 1, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. – On the first day of 2020, recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois, which joins 10 other US states with legal use of recreational marijuana. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — The state announced Monday that $10,830,667 worth of recreational cannabis has been sold during the first five days.

Dispensaries reported long lines the first day of sales and they continued through the weekend.

After an opening day that hauled in $3,176,256.71, sales have stayed above $1,000,000 per day.

Dispensaries across the state rendered 271,169 transactions over the five-day period, an average of nearly $40 per transaction.

By comparison, neighboring Michigan, which made recreational marijuana legal starting Dec. 1, generated $3.1 million in the first two weeks of sales. First-day sales in Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, were over $1 million on Jan. 1, 2014.

People began lining up on Wednesday at 6 a.m., the earliest that the new law allowed such sales.

Among those who bought on the first day was Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton who purchased edible gummies in Chicago.

“I’m here to celebrate a big day in Illinois,” Stratton said.

As part of the state’s focus on equity, 25 percent of cannabis sales tax revenues will support the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, which aims to address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system.

The Department of Revenue expects to have a tax revenue estimate by the end of February, when initial tax payments from dispensaries are due.

On Thursday, January 2, the department concluded the first round of applications for new dispensary licenses. A preliminary count shows that more than 700 applicants submitted applications seeking almost 4,000 licenses.

More than 600 of the applicants identified themselves as qualifying for social equity applicant status. The department will award up to 75 new dispensary licenses, which will be announced by May 1, 2020.

Illinois already allowed medical marijuana, but it is now the 11th state to allow its use and sale for recreational purposes.

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