Legal cannabis sales continue to break records in Illinois with a total of more than $99 million in sales of both recreational and medical marijuana products sold in September, according to state regulators. The figure tops the previous record for total cannabis sales from August, when combined sales totaled more than $95 million, according to data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

“We are not surprised to see another record month for cannabis sales in September approaching $100 million,” said a spokesperson for Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, a multi-state operator with facilities in 12 legal cannabis markets in the United States. 

“Consumer demand remains strong throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and we expect industry growth to continue as operators ramp up capacity to increase supply, new stores open throughout the state, and existing stores add adult-use sales,” the spokesperson continued in the statement emailed to High Times, noting that a new location of its Rise brand of dispensaries will be opening in Naperville, Illinois this week.

September sales of adult-use cannabis products, at more than $67 million, also eclipsed figures from August, when sales were just shy of $64 million. Legal sales of recreational marijuana began in Illinois at the beginning year, with more than $39 million in sales posted in January. Following a slight dip in February sales at more than $34 million, the total for recreational marijuana products has increased each subsequent month. 

Since the launch of recreational marijuana sales in Illinois in January, nearly 9.5 million cannabis products totaling more than $431 million have been sold. Sales figures do not include the taxes collected on adult-use cannabis sales.

Recreational marijuana sales to visitors from outside Illinois also increased to more than $17.8 million, up from more than $17.2 million in August. September sales to Illinois state residents came to more than $49.7 million. In all, more than 1.4 million recreational cannabis products were sold to both Illinois residents and out-of-state residents in September.

More Dispensaries Still To Come

In May, state regulators announced that 75 additional licenses for recreational cannabis dispensaries that were scheduled to be awarded would be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the state announced that out of a total of 700 applicants, only 21 who achieved perfect scores on their applications would advance to the lottery for those 75 licenses. After receiving many complaints about how few applicants scored a perfect rating and were permitted to advance to the license lottery, state regulators decided that the remaining applicants would be allowed to amend their applications or challenge the scores they received before the lottery proceeds. 

To earn a perfect score, applicants must achieve veteran status, meaning at least 51% of the organization is owned by a veteran or group of veterans, and social equity status. Achieving social equity status requires a majority ownership by individuals who have lived at least five of the last 10 years in an area disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, or who have an arrest or conviction for a drug-related crime. Applicants can also qualify by having at least 10 employees, a majority of whom fulfill the social equity requirement.

Earlier this month, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that two-thirds of the finalists are from companies owned by people of color.

“When we’re done with this process, we will have the largest percentage ownership by people of color anywhere in the nation,” Pritzker said.

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